George I. Sanchez Elementary
73 San Marcos St.
Sanchez Elementary School is named for George I. Sanchez, a former University of Texas professor regarded by many as “the intellectual leader of the Mexican-American movement in Texas and the Southwest . . . the father of Mexican-American Studies.” Sanchez was a professor of Latin-American education at UT for 32 years and was a proponent of bilingual education for Spanish-speaking children. He was appointed chairmen of a joint board-staff citizens committee in 1968 to evaluate the physical facilities at Palm School. Palm was constructed in 1882 as a military post and transferred to the Austin School District after its use by the military was no longer needed. At the time of the study, it was one of the oldest schools in Austin at the time. The report issued from that committee led to the eventual construction of Sanchez Elementary School as a replacement for Palm School. Dr. George Sanchez died in April 1972 at the age of 65.
Several homes and the Salvation Army Youth Center Gym were demolished to make room for the new school. Sanchez opened in 1976, the school was dedicated on Sunday, May 1, 1977, with Sanchez’ widow, Dr. Luisa G.G. Sanchez, present for the unveiling of a painting and bust of the educator. The original building housed 16 standard classrooms, rooms for special education, art, and music, as well as a library, cafeteria-auditorium, and playroom. Built with the needs of education needs at the time, moveable walls allowed for academic space to be changed as needed. Cruz A. Lopez, graduate of Palm School, was the architect for the building and incorporated Pre-Hispanic elements into the design, like hieroglyphic relief work and decorative columns. Adding to the bilingual feel of the school is a colored mural of Mayan figures and symbols located in the main entrance lobby designed by Raul Valdez. Natural Texas landscaping of Pecan trees, red bud, elm, and fig enhance the design of the school. Its mascot is an Aztec.