The following story is courtesy of Lower Colorado River Authority.
The historic Cox Springs School soon will get a facelift thanks to a $25,000 grant from the Lower Colorado River Authority and Pedernales Electric Cooperative.
The Community Development Partnership Program grant, along with $68,000 in matching funds, will allow the Cox Springs School Restoration Society to restore the exterior of the more than 100-year-old building, including doors, porches, roof decking, chimney and original metal skirt.
“What a few of us thought was a simple project turned into a huge restoration effort,” said Carlos Dengo, president of the Cox Springs School Restoration Society. “We’re trying to restore the school to get a historical marker from the state, and that process is really detailed. We have to use era-type construction – a certain way windows are finished, how the building is sealed and siding that imitates the style of the time.”
LCRA General Manager Phil Wilson said he is pleased LCRA can play a role in helping to preserve the history of the Jonestown/Lago Vista area on the north shore of Lake Travis.
“This is one of three remaining one-room schools in northwest Travis County,” Wilson said. “This will be an interesting place for both schoolchildren and adults to visit to learn about history and get a glimpse of what life was like here decades ago.”
Wilson said the building also will serve an important role as a community meeting place.
“We Texans take tremendous pride in our history,” Wilson said. “When the building is restored, visitors can stop by to learn about the past, and groups can hold community meetings there to help make the present better and plan for the future.”
The schoolhouse was originally built in the late 1880s. In the 1940s, two local ranchers moved it from the Lake Travis floodplain to its current location so children could go to school nearby after Lake Travis was filled. It continued to serve students from grades 1 to 11 until 1959.
This is phase two of the restoration work. Phase one to stabilize the building was completed in July 2021. Plans call for phase three, restoring the building’s interior, to be completed in 2023.
“This is a volunteer effort to restore part of the state’s historical legacy,” Dengo said. “The idea is to bring schoolchildren in to see what education looked like decades ago – grades 1 to 11 crammed into this little room, with no plumbing, no air conditioning.”
The community grant is one of 36 grants awarded recently through LCRA’s Community Development Partnership Program, which helps volunteer fire departments, local governments, emergency responders and nonprofit organizations fund capital improvement projects in LCRA’s wholesale electric, water and transmission service areas. The program is part of LCRA’s effort to give back to the communities it serves. PEC is one of LCRA’s wholesale electric customers and is a partner in the grant program.
The Lower Colorado River Authority serves customers and communities throughout Texas by managing the lower Colorado River; generating and transmitting electric power; providing a clean, reliable water supply; and offering outdoor adventures at more than 40 parks along the Colorado River from the Texas Hill Country to the Gulf Coast. LCRA and its employees are committed to fulfilling our mission to enhance the quality of life of the Texans we serve through water stewardship, energy and community service. LCRA was created by the Texas Legislature in 1934 and receives no state appropriations. For more information, visit lcra.org.
Applications for the next round of grants will be accepted in July. More information is available at lcra.org/cdpp.