Mack Brown and Friends Unveil Plans for New Rise School of Austin
“Giving, I’ve learned, is the most important thing you can do in life,” said UT football coach Mack Brow last year at the honorary renaming of the Sally and Mack Brown Rise School of Austin. After a year of careful planning, the vision for the building that was Brown’s 60th birthday present has finally been unveiled.
The Rise School provides early childhood education services to children with and without developmental disabilities. The school, which for years operated on a shoestring budget inside temporary homes, will move into a permanent facility by fall 2013 thanks to the “Friends of Mack” campaign.
The new Sally and Mack Brown Rise School of Austin will include 17,000 square feet for eight classrooms, doubling its enrollment capacity to 80 students. Space is planned for art and music therapy, a gymnasium, a nurse’s office, a playground, and a library. The ultimate goal? To make it as easy as possible to just let kids be kids.
“I love that you can have a classroom filled with children with special needs and typically developing children and they don’t see the difference—hear the difference in a voice, see the difference in a face—that’s just their friends sitting next to them,” said Joylyn Boggs, Rise School of Austin teacher.
In addition to the new amenities, the school is being welcomed with open arms into the Austin community. Its location within the Rathgeber Village puts the kids near Dell Children’s Medical Center, and the University’s College of Education promises to work closely with the school through its Department of Special Education.
Brown’s heart is set on the children. Smiling wide at the sunny unveiling, he said, “These are very special kids. They need to have the same right to flourish and feel good about their lives and learn and make progress as the kids who don’t have the needs that these kids do.”
Mack Brown at the unveiling. Photo by Tyler Schmitt, courtesy the Friends of Mack.