McNay Museum Announces Landscape Master Plan
A plan to enhance the outdoor experience at the McNay
McNay Art Museum officials and supporters gathered Sept. 4 to announce a $6.25 million landscape master plan.
The plan will activate and enhance the outdoor museum experience with additional works of art, “invisible” fencing, new landscaping, and increased accessibility.
The start of the multi-phase plan is being led by museum campaign Chairman and Trustee Don Frost and museum board President Toby Calvert.
The plan calls for replacing existing hedges along the property edge with aesthetic fencing and native drought-resistant plants, creating easier access to Marion Koogler McNay’s original 1929 residence.
The project will also change the outward face of the McNay’s campus and remove the physical barrier.
The greenspace triangle at the intersection of Austin Highway and North New Braunfels Avenue will be absorbed into the McNay campus. This area will be known as the Mays Family Park in honor of the $2 million gift from the Mays Family Foundation.
The McNay also received additional funding from the Kronkosky Charitable Foundation, the Frost family, Frost Bank, and the Semmes Foundation in support of this project.
San Antonio-based architecture and construction firms Ford, Powell and Carson and G.W. Mitchell, and Austin urban landscape architects, dwg., all are attached to the project.
Phase I construction is set for completion by spring 2020. Phase II is in early development. The museum will remain open throughout construction.
Broadway Pre-Design Work Begins in Alamo Heights
The city of Alamo Heights worked in the late summer toward an agreement with Overland Partners, the local architecture firm, to oversee the first phase of designs for a potential remake of Broadway.
Alamo Heights officials have been considering how to turn Broadway into a “complete street” just as San Antonio begins its planned “complete street” conversion of Broadway.
Alamo Heights City Manager Buddy Kuhn said Aug. 23 the city and Overland Partners were developing a strategy, scope and potential cost of work on Broadway.
“(City Council) selected Overland to assist us in the development of a landscaping master plan for the redevelopment of lower Broadway should this project eventually move forward,” Kuhn added.
Witte Museum Announces Dawson Family Hall
Witte Museum leadership announced in August the naming of the museum’s new auditorium as the Dawson Family Hall.
The Dawson family has pledged $1 million towards the hall, which will be located near the riverside of the museum.
According to a news release, the Dawson family supports the Witte Museum and Rotary Club of San Antonio, which currently meets weekly at the Witte and will soon host those meetings in the new hall.
Marise McDermott, Witte president and chief executive officer, said in a news release that the Dawson family’s vision continues to inspire Witte Museum leadership.
“What is poetic about this transformative gift from the Dawson family is the connection of the Witte Museum and Rotary of San Antonio, both of which have been integral organizations for generations of Dawsons,” she said.
McDermott continued, “Gene Dawson has been a member of Rotary of San Antonio for decades and Sam Dawson was chair not only of Rotary, but of the Witte Museum and also the co-chair of the new Witte capital campaign.”
The Dawson Family Hall will benefit more than 50,000 students who come to the Witte yearly for educational programming in nature, science and culture.
Specifically, the Dawson Family Hall will double the capacity for the Witte’s popular “Science Showcase” STEM (Science Technology Engineering Math) programs.
The completed renovation and expansion will include new interior and exterior space matching the New Witte façade, so that the Riverside reflects that of the museum’s Broadway-view, the release stated. It will also feature a new entrance gate on Tuleta Drive and a view of the science court.
Alamo Heights ISD Adopts New Budget
Alamo Heights Independent School District board voted Aug. 22 to approve a $77 million budget for the new school year.
The budget includes a 3% pay hike for teachers, counselors, librarians and nurses with five years experience or less.
The budget also contains a 3.5% pay raise for teachers, counselors, librarians and nurses with more than five years of experience.
The district is instituting a starting salary of more than$52,000 for these positions.
House Bill 3, a new public education financing bill passed by state legislators, mandates the salary hikes.
HB 3 also changed how the public school funding system redistributes money from property-wealthy school districts to poorer districts.
As a result, AHISD’s newest payment to the state dropped from $42 million to $39.8 million, and is due to pay up to $32 million next year.
Another result of state legislation is a cut in school property tax rates. AHISD reduced its rate from $1.25 per $100 valuation to $1.19, which will lead to a decrease in local property tax revenue by more than 4%.
Alamo Heights ISD projects $77.2 million in revenue this year.
CPS Energy Helps Heights with Tree Trimming
CPS Energy contracted with Davey Tree Service late this summer to trim trees in some parts of Alamo Heights in an effort to improve electric reliability.
“The utility identified certain areas in and around the city that are prone to create electric outages due to tree limbs being in contact with main primary or secondary electric service lines, city officials said.”
BY EDMOND ORTIZ