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Kyle Mayor Lucy Johnson beamed with pride at the sight of a 90,000-square-foot college campus standing on once was a cow pasture.
Dignitaries and community members gathered Jan. 16 to officially unveil the newest Austin Community College campus serving the Hays County community.
Johnson called it a “landmark day for the city” of Kyle.
“One of the things that often marked progress in a city’s journey from small town to metropolis is that day when you first get higher education in your community,” she said.
The ACC Hays campus—made possible by the annexation of Hays CISD into the college district, which voters approved in 2010—sits on 96 acres in Kyle, located at the intersection of Kohler’s Crossing and F.M. 1626.
Built for a capacity of 2,000 students in its first phase, the college campus has enrolled more than 1,000 students in its inaugural semester, which kicked off on Jan. 13.
Dignitaries at the grand opening and dedication of ACC’s 10th full-service campus, after its Elgin campus was launched in the 2013.
A campus on the former site of Austin’s Highland Mall is set to open in the fall.
ACC District Board Chairman Jeffrey Richard lauded Hays voters’ decision to annex itself into the college district.
“Because of your investment, it only costs about $65 an hour to go to college,” Richard said.
“Accessibility is what it’s all about,” said State Sen. Judith Zaffirini, adding that the new campus will increase the availability of higher education in the state.
Opportunities open up not only for high school graduates but students still attending high school, said Hays CISD Superintendent Michael McKie.
McKie said dual enrollment opportunities will continue to expand with the opening of the campus; in the future, he said the district hopes to link up with the college to form a joint facility, for example an early college high school.
“There are going to be a lot of opportunities,” he said. “It’s our goal to take advantage of all of them.”
Dually enrolled Hays High School senior Roxana Solis said she plans on completing her basic coursework at the community college after graduating this spring. Then, she hopes to pursue a nursing degree at Texas State University, she said.
“I’ve always loved learning,” Solis said. “The opportunity to get it here close by excites me.”