Construction on the new Taylor Elementary School building on North 10th is expected to be complete by September, with a school opening scheduled for January 2021.
At last week’s Abilene Independent School District Board of Trustees meeting, the architecture firm hired to design Taylor Elementary, Huckabee Architects, reported on the updates in the timeline of construction at the site. Lance Fleming, AISD chief communications officer, said the report was positive.
“They are on schedule as of right now,” Fleming said. “Their schedule that they gave us… shows that everything should be complete by sometime in September, probably by the time everything is done. So we’ve got plenty of time, even if there’s any other weather this spring, to get that completed.”
Fleming said Huckabee Architects received all the structural steel needed for the project, delivered to the site three weeks ahead of time. The school is projected to open for the second semester of next school year.
“So they’re well within that target range,” Fleming said. “One of the guys from Huckabee was asked… by one of our board members if it’s possible that Taylor would catch up to Austin and they would both open in August and he said, ‘I don’t know if that is possible, but the challenge has been laid out to the construction crews.’”
SEDALCO Construction Services have received that challenge.
“Obviously, we’re not counting on that,” Fleming said. “We’re still looking at the January 2021 move-in date, but they’ve done great work so far. I think everyone is pleased with where they are in the construction time line.”
There are several possibilities as to what will happen with the old Taylor Elementary School building and land once the transition happens. Fleming said it could be sold or used for other purposes in the district, like storage.
“We’ve begun talking to the board about what will happen with that campus, but I think we’re in the very early stages of what we’re going to do with that campus,” Fleming said. “There’s still some things we’re looking into and deciding how best to proceed, but definitely over the next six months to a year we’ll be looking into what we’re going to do with that campus, that building and that land.”
Kevin Campbell, senior vice president for operations, said the university’s ground lease with AISD on the intramural fields next to the old Taylor Elementary School will remain intact through any transition of the property. The lease has been ongoing for 20 years. Taylor has access to the fields before 5 p.m. and ACU has access to the fields after 5 p.m. and on weekends.
“Any time land becomes available near campus, we will explore the potential and price,” Campbell said. “Land provides us with flexibility, both in the present and future. When the acquisition of land makes sense, we will look to exercise our ability to acquire it. We look forward to learning more about the process, timeline and potential cost. It will likely be later summer or early fall before we have full clarity on Taylor.”