Neighbors split over transformation of AISD building with zoning change

Austin

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Allendale and Crestview neighbors say they’re nervous about a project stemming from the voter-approved bond package in 2017 set to transform an Austin school property into a clinic.

It’s not so much about the school, but the zoning change that would come with the plan.

The district will listen to public input Monday night on building a new Rosedale School for students with special needs on the site of the former Lucy Read Pre-K Center—that spot currently houses Doss Elementary while its campus is being re-built.

A school playground combined with a city park in the neighborhood will be transformed into a new home for the Rosedale School, according to Austin ISD’s plans.

“Our students have some of the most complex medical needs of any students in the city. We have this opportunity to co-locate with the specialist clinic that serve students in our population. It’s a way for kids to be in school more. It’s a way to address the needs of the whole child,” Rosedale School Principal Elizabeth Dickey said.

The pediatric clinic on-site would serve other patients as well, and require a city zoning change which worries neighbors.

“We do fear that it is going to change from being a public school who is treating these kids who really need help in to something that they’re going to sell the next time that they run out of money,” concerned neighbor Joe Parsons said.

“If that venture doesn’t work, they can have a storage facility, a public storage, or a U-Haul, or anything,” Maria Shaw said. 

While they may lose a little ground for popsicles and joy rides with the new construction, Rosedale’s principal says her perspective should offer some peace of mind.

“Our current building has been there since 1939. Our hopes are that this is a building that absolutely stands the test of time,” Dickey said.

The clinic part of the project is slated to be a maximum build of 20,000 square feet.

City Council is set to vote on the zoning change June 20. The Rosedale School hopes to move in by August 2021.

If you can’t make it, the district provides ways for neighbors to share their thoughts on any upcoming project here.

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