A groundbreaking ceremony celebrated the beginning of construction on new Taylor Elementary School.
Construction workers broke ground on new Taylor Elementary School on Sept. 6. The groundbreaking ceremony was held for the public at 9 a.m. on Wednesday.
Dr. David Young, Abilene ISD Superintendent, said they asked construction workers to do some site preparation so they could have a good place to set up a tent for the ceremony.
“In fact, I saw the owner of the construction company last week and I said, ‘Hey, don’t get the foundation poured before we even have a groundbreaking ceremony,’” Young said.
The new property’s official address is 1719 E.N. 10th St., near the Department of Athletics’ cross country area. The property for the new school was purchased from ACU in spring of 2019.
Kelly Young, vice president of Abilene Christian Investment Management Company, said ACU has always had a close relationship with Taylor Elementary, with many of the children of faculty and staff attending there and many of ACU’s education students doing student teaching there.
“So, having a new, state-of-the-art elementary school will be a great benefit to our faculty, staff and students,” Kelly Young said. “In addition, it’s possible that ACU’s endowment will develop new single-family housing near the new elementary school. Being close to the new school would be a great benefit for families who might want to build or buy houses in the neighborhood.”
David Young said the current Taylor Elementary School is the oldest elementary campus of Abilene Independent School District, at 62 years old. The school lacks necessary electrical infrastructure, there are more students than the building can support and there are safety and security concerns since each classroom opens to the outside, he said.
“We decided to build it in a new spot rather than the existing spot, because we did have room to build a new Taylor next to the old school, but that would involve negatively impacting ACU,” David Young said. “The land that the intramural fields are on and the parking lot that serves Gardner Residence Hall, that’s our property, but ACU has improved those properties. But they were willing for us to do that, but it didn’t make sense also, because our student population at Taylor is no longer really from that neighborhood right around Taylor.”
Most students who attend Taylor are now located across Judge Ely Boulevard or along Highway 351.
David Young said official plans for the old Taylor property have not yet been made.
“I suspect that they will want to go ahead and put it up for bid,” David Young said. “ACU has expressed interest to us in that property, as have others.”
Once the property is placed for bid and made publicly available, the school district has the freedom to choose any bidder based on different factors, not necessarily the highest bidder.
“Lots of people think that we traded ACU the property for the new school with the old school and that is not the case,” David Young said. “Number one, they’re not equivalent values. But that’s not a real estate transaction. Schools can’t do business that way. They are separate transactions.”
Kelly Young said if Abilene ISD puts the old Taylor up for sale, it is likely that ACU will put in a bid on it.
“ACU has a lease on the Taylor property for intramural use and for Gardner Residence Hall parking that runs for another 30 years, so buying the property would likely make sense,” Kelly Young said.