Austin Community College’s renovated Rio Grande campus is back open to students who are gushing over the study spaces and views of downtown.
Updates to the historic building at 12th and Rio Grande—which was built in 1916 and previously a junior high school before becoming Austin High School—have been years in the making. A 2014 bond election funded the renovation work that started three years later, ultimately creating what ACC describes as a state-of-the-art college campus. ACC will host a ribbon cutting in October to celebrate the grand reopening.
“You’re downtown but you are in this incredibly cool, older building that has windows that somehow people have forgotten how to build now,” campus manager Michelle Raymond told Austonia during a tour of the building. She adds that she can only think of a couple of spaces where there isn’t natural sunlight.
The result is a warm and inviting feel inside with classrooms and resources like the student accessibility services office, an accelerator area with computers and conference rooms and more.
Outside, an amphitheater-like space that was mostly just dirt before the renovations has seating for students to work or have lunch.
“The project manager really envisioned trying to squeeze the most out of the inner city college vibe that we could get,” Raymond said. “And this is a really lovely space that they carved out. It's got electricity, there's WiFi out here. Students can come and hang out.”
When it comes time for activities or meetings, there’s a multipurpose room. Raymond notes that the floor mostly hosts computer classes, but it’s used for various occasions and even once Pentagon staff met in the room.
There’s even more to come, including a shop called Cafe Rio that will serve sandwiches, pastries, and other snacks and drinks. And in the coming semesters, the Computer Information Systems department is moving onto the campus to join instructors from VMware in teaching.
The Rio Grande campus also has the Army Futures Command, a subsidiary of the army where soldiers build their software programming skills. Raymond says each six months, ACC will have a group made up of 25 soldiers and five civilians that will be there for three years.
“Some have degrees in software programming but others don't,” Raymond said. “So they are kind of using this as a way to keep their talent in the army.”
Even with the many changes, a key to the renovation project involved preserving features as a way to marry old with the new, Raymond says.
That includes details like windows overlooking an atrium from the original site that were given a new life after being hand cleaned and painted. Or an engraving on the building labeling it John T. Allan High School.
“It really is a huge transformation from what it used to be,” Raymond said. “The ceilings feel higher, the colors are brighter, it's more open, better use of space.”
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With major entertainment events slated for October, the Austin-Bergstrom International Airport is gearing up for a busy month.
Artists and music lovers are set to pack into Zilker Park for The Austin City Limits Music Festival in the coming two weekends. Following that, Formula One will bring racing fans to the Circuit of the Americas.
For those two events, the airport is anticipating high passenger days with 30,000 or more people departing flights.
ABIA recommends arriving at least two and a half hours in advance for domestic flights on those days. For ACL, it's expected on both Sundays of the festival along with the Monday and Tuesday after. The F1-driven high passenger days are expected on Oct. 20-21 and Oct. 23-26.
\u201c#AustinCityLimits visitors, you\u2019re in for a weird and wild ride \ud83e\udd18\u262e\ufe0f \n\nFlying in or out of our airport? We got firm and fun tips for you: https://t.co/RawVRalOXN\u201d— Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS) (@Austin-Bergstrom International Airport (AUS)) 1664894083
F1, especially, could draw in loads of travelers as the three-day event saw 400,000 attendees last year. ABIA warns that highways leading to the airport may see even higher traffic than usual around the event and that travelers should plan their route accordingly.
Bailey Grimmett, a spokesperson for ABIA, said travel numbers come in 24 hours in advance. So, it's hard to predict if the airport will see travel volumes at the same levels that have happened around previous F1 races or if it'll top ACL's flight traffic.
Still, she says historical knowledge points to a chance for it.
“We've had that Monday after F1 break the record for single busiest in airport history," Grimmett said. "So context clues I would say yes, but I can't confirm that. But the historical background points to that."
In anticipation of the high volume of flyers, the airport received additional TSA officers for security screening through the end of October. To prepare even further, the Department of Aviation and partners hosted a job showcase and hiring fair to address the continued labor shortage the airport has experienced.
Relief from hectic travel days is on the horizon with November likely to see a slowdown.
"I don't anticipate it will be as busy as October just because we don't have as many events going on," Grimmett said. "Thanksgiving is kind of our primary holiday that we see a lot of passengers coming in and out of the airport."
Elon Musk has proposed once again to buy Twitter for $54.20 a share.
The news that Musk is offering to carry on with the $44 billion buyout was first reported by Bloomberg. Now, a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission shows Musk made the proposal in a letter to the tech giant on Monday.
The New York Stock Exchange temporarily halted trading in Twitter stock twice Tuesday, first because of a big price move and the second time for a news event, presumably the announcement of Musk's renewed offer.
While the per share offer price on this latest proposal remains the same as the original offer, it’s unclear if Musk has made other term changes or if Twitter would reject it. According to other reports, a deal could be reached this week.
The stock closed at $52.00/share Tuesday, indicating market uncertainty around the $54.20 offer.
After Musk informed Twitter of plans to terminate the original agreement in July, Twitter sued. A trial has been expected in Delaware Chancery Court on Oct. 17.
With the proposition of a buyout on the table again, it revives the question of whether Musk might move Twitter from San Francisco to Central Texas.
He’s done so with some of his other companies. Tesla’s headquarters in southeast Travis County had its grand opening earlier this year and tunneling business The Boring Company moved to Pflugerville. At least two other Musk companies, SpaceX and Neuralink, have a Central Texas presence without being headquartered here.
Technology journalist Nilay Patel this afternoon voiced concerns that owning Twitter and Tesla together could be problematic for Musk, as his Tesla manufacturing facilities in Germany and China are both in countries that have disputes with Twitter over content moderation and censorship.
Telsa shares fell after the Twitter news became public, before rallying to close up, at $249.44.
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