SAN ANTONIO — Thursday, San Antonio City Council voted unanimously to deny historic designation for the old Beacon Hill Elementary Building, known as "Beacon Hill ES #22." It also created a Memorandum of Agreement between the city and the San Antonio Independent School District on how to handle removal of the building, and plans to implement cultural heritage curriculum.
Parents and community members have pushed for months for the removal of the building, a debate re-ignited after years of discussion about demolishing it. Preservationists pushed back, concerned about the cultural and historic significance of the building. The city reviewed proposals to preserve it, but ultimately decided on this agreement.
To learn more, or to view the curriculum, click here.
San Antonio Independent School District released this statement following the vote:
"This District is pleased with the decision today by City Council to deny the resolution for landmark designation of the old Beacon Hill structure, allowing us to move forward.
We’re appreciative of the meaningful discussions held with the city on this matter, where common ground was discovered. We thank the City for listening to the Beacon Hill families and working toward a solution that balanced the importance of cultural heritage with what is best for our families.
We thank our parents, community and Trustee Christina Martinez for leading the charge in bringing visibility to the issue with the old Beacon Hill building. We look forward to creating more open, green space for our students."
District 1 Councilman Roberto Treviño, who worked with the city, community, school and students on a solution, released this statement following the vote:
“Great cities are about people and the things they create. While beauty and history pour out of every crevice of Beacon Hill E.S. #22, this Cultural Heritage Curriculum ensures our heritage, be it tangible or intangible lives on. Today’s vote addresses the current needs of our future leaders, and creates a framework that will have generational impact our city. Together, we are planting a seed that will grow and provide our students with cultural awareness and a sense of pride unlike any community in the country. The students at Beacon Hill Elementary will change the world someday. They are going to remember when their hard work with their parents, their school district, and their city government resulted in change and the creation of something much bigger than one building.
Thank you to the students and community for their involvement on this issue over the last twenty years. I commend Director Shanon Miller and the Office of Historic Preservation for their work with SAISD to develop this one-of-a-kind program.
Plato once said, ‘What is honored in a country is cultivated there.’ I am really proud of what we have cultivated here together.”
Here are more on the terms of the agreement, based on information from the City of San Antonio and provided by Councilman Treviño's office:
In an effort to mitigate the loss of the building, SAISD has worked with City staff to develop and propose a number of actions to be executed through a Memorandum of Agreement with the City. Actions outlined through the draft MOA include:
- Prior to issuance of a demolition permit, SAISD will provide the City documentation of the Beacon Hill #22 Structure including but not limited to - HABS level 1 drawings, digital 3D model, and photographs.
- Prior to issuance of a demolition permit, SAISD will provide the City a salvage and reuse plan for the materials of the Beacon Hill #22 Structure.
- Prior to issuance of the Demolition Permit, SAISD will provide City with a plan and timeline for completion of the inventory, which shall be approved by the Director of the City’s Office of Historic Preservation. Within 12 months of the issuance of the Demolition Permit, SAISD will provide the City a complete inventory of SAISD buildings and identification of all historic resources.
- SAISD will meet with the Office of Historic Preservation following completion of the inventory outlined above and discuss possible initiation of the landmark designation process for other school buildings in the district, as a way to underscore the importance of historic schools in the community.
- SAISD will implement preservation trades courses and/or certification as part of SAISD career and technical education program.
6. SAISD will develop in collaboration with the City, a SAISD-wide Cultural Heritage Curriculum as outlined in Exhibit A.