Groundbreaking marks beginning of Highland Phase 2

Construction is set to begin on Austin Community College (ACC) Highland phase 2 that will add advanced facilities to prepare students for high-demand careers and nurture local business growth. Community leaders and friends joined ACC September 21 for a ceremonial groundbreaking.

The Northridge Trio, consisting of three ACC Music Performance students – Ambrosio Sexton (keys), Taka Shimada (Bass) and Daniel Smith (guitar) – provided event entertainment.

“ACC Highland is about breaking down walls and barriers that keep students and people in our community from truly achieving their dreams and pursuing their passions and going into the workforce to make a difference in our community,” said Dr. Richard Rhodes, ACC President/CEO.

The phase 2 project, totaling 415,000 square feet, comprises the college’s first school-to-business incubator, a Health Sciences simulation center, multimedia art gallery, and Culinary Arts center with a restaurant operated by ACC faculty, staff, and students. It also includes expanded space for more than a dozen ACC programs, including: Computer Science and Information Technology, Game Development, Music Business Performance Technology, Architectural and Engineering Computer Aided Design, Radio/Television/Film, and Visual Communication.

“Faculty and staff are the ones that create the magic, that light up the inspiration of the hearts of our students.” -Dr. Rhodes

“This vision started long before I got here,” said Dr. Rhodes, recognizing former ACC President/CEO Dr. Steve Kinslow. “The revitalization of this area is thanks to his vision, his commitment to ACC’s mission.”

ACC began the revolutionary project in 2010 transforming the aging Highland Mall into a state-of-the-art college campus and regional center for workforce training and lifelong learning.

“This redevelopment project will be studied around the country because it is that unique and that special,” said State Senator Kirk Watson.

“If you can’t tell, I am the president of the ACC fan club,” Watson continued. “It’s because I see the value it places on changing lives and I see firsthand the fact that it is in fact changing those lives…This is something that we as a community can wrap our arms around.”

“I’m a member of that fan club as well,” Austin Mayor Steve Adler said.

“We are trying to match the community that lives here to the opportunities that exist. There is no place in this city where it is happening – it’s happening here. This phase 2 transformation may be the most exciting thing that’s happening in this city,” Adler said.

“The revitalization of this mall is not only monumental for Austin, and for Central Texas, but nationally,” said Dr. Barbara Mink, Chair of ACC District Board of Trustees. “The vision for the project has always been about building a positive future for our students and for Central Texas…This project is about collaboration, innovative learning spaces, and economic development.”

When phase 2 opens, ACC Highland will serve an additional 5,000 students.

“I believe without a doubt that what’s happening here is nothing but good,” said Reverend Dr. G. V. Clark, St. John Regular Baptist District Association.

Learn more about the project at






ACC Highland Phase II Groundbreaking

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