Zavala Elementary School
Marker No: 17292
Aluminum 27 x 42 Subject Marker
Geographic: 30.258009, -97.719765
Location: 10 Robert Martinez Jr., Austin
Marker Text: In the 1930s, a rapidly growing Latino population caused the joint decision of the Austin Independent School District and Austin City Council to plan a separate facility for children attending Metz Elementary School. Austin architects Giesecke and Harris and San Antonio builders M. C. Falbo & Sons were chosen to build a 12-room brick schoolhouse in December 1935. The $42,935 cost was paid for entirely through federal Public Works Administration (PWA) funds. In 1936, as Texas commemorated its centennial of independence from Mexico, the school was dedicated to Lorenzo de Zavala, the only native of Mexico to sign the Texas declaration of independence and vice-president of the Republic of Texas. He had died in 1836. The school opened in the fall and was officially dedicated on October 21, 1936.
In March 1938, U.S. President Franklin D. Roosevelt approved another PWA project, Santa Rita Courts, as the first federal housing project in the nation. The subsidized housing project was built directly east of the school, with Giesecke and Harris and Falbo & Sons selected for its construction. In March 1939, a request to the school board to build an addition to the school to accommodate new students culminated in additional PWA funding. Santa Rita Courts were completed in June 1939, and a companion project, Chalmers Court, was finished to the west in September. Zavala’s enrollment expanded again, and in the 1940s, Zavala was one of four Austin schools determined to be excessively overcrowded; another addition was completed in 1947. Zavala Elementary became an anchor for federal programs in the area. The school continues to serve the educational and community needs of the neighborhood. (2012) (Marker No: 17292)