Even a storm couldn’t stop the ACC Elgin Campus groundbreaking.
The college broke ground on the new campus November 15 – indoors, with the ceremony moved from the campus site at Highway 290 and County Line Road to Elgin’s SPJST Hall. ACC brought in soil from the construction area for the celebration, attended by more than 500 people.
“It’s tremendous,” said David Glass, a resident and business owner who co-chaired Elgin’s annexation committee. “With the weather the way it is, this will tell you how this community has really come together to support this occasion. For this big of a crowd to be here on such a day, it speaks volumes about our community.”
The first full-service college campus in Elgin, ACC Elgin Campus is scheduled to open in August 2013. The groundbreaking marked more than the start of construction – it’s the start of a new chapter for the community.
“This is an absolutely exciting day because it’s based on education,” said Elgin Mayor Marc Holm. “With education comes opportunity. Not only do we have a building and a campus coming into fruition, we have these opportunities. That’s the most exciting part about it.”
The gathering included entertainment from the Elgin Middle School choir and the Elgin High School jazz band. The community enjoyed lunch courtesy of Southside Market and Barbeque, Elgin General Store, and Southwest Stallion Station.
Elgin ISD residents chose to join the ACC District last fall, with 61 percent voting for annexation.
“It opens the doors of opportunity across this region,” said Dr. Richard Rhodes, ACC president/CEO. “Our walls go beyond Austin. This is a regional economic development opportunity through education.”
ACC enrollment from Elgin has increased 58 percent in the year since annexation, and Elgin residents already have convenient access to ACC classes through the Elgin Center, which opened earlier this year (902 W. Second St.). One of the students taking advantage of the Elgin Center spoke at the groundbreaking ceremony.
“I was the first out of eight siblings to graduate high school, and now I’m the first to go to college,” said Estrillita Carlos, who plans to become a registered nurse. “I have three boys of my own, so it sets a good example for them. When they’re studying, I’m studying. When they’re reading, I’m reading.”
Elgin ISD residents receive expanded access to higher education and the low in-district tuition rate ($57 per credit hour in spring 2012) in exchange for paying the ACC property tax, currently set at $0.0948 (9.48 cents) per $100 valuation; there is a standard $5,000 homestead exemption, and seniors and homeowners with disabilities receive a total $120,000 exemption. Tax revenue from Elgin residents will fund construction of the campus.
The first phase of ACC Elgin Campus is a three-story structure with approximately 65,000 square feet of space and capacity for 1,500 students. The building will include classrooms, labs, student services (welcome center, admissions and records, financial aid, advising and counseling, and disability services), library and media center, a Student Life office, student commons area, and more. Residents got a look at the campus design during the groundbreaking.
“It will be a landmark building as you enter our city,” said Glass. “It’s going to lead us into the 21st century and take Elgin where we really want to take Elgin.”
The campus will offer transferable general education classes as well as workforce training in areas such as agriculture (veterinary technician, animal science, environmental science, and land management) and visual communication/digital media. Elgin residents and business leaders will be part of the campus advisory committee.
“It’s the voters and the grassroots people in the Elgin community who made this possible,” said Dr. Rhodes. “They did it through their votes and through their passion to bring higher education into their community. It takes people with vision and a dream to make this happen.”
Registration for spring 2012 classes is available for all students. The spring schedule for the Elgin Center is accessible at austincc.edu/elgin. The webpage includes campus construction updates.
ACC Elgin is one of two campuses currently in development, with the college finalizing plans for a full-service campus in Hays CISD.
posted in: ACC Homepage Announcements, ACC Newsroom, Banner Stories, Elgin Campus Updates