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22 October . 2020

Sweetwater students attend Lake Travis ISD’s new Rough Hollow Elementary

As of mid-October, about 70 percent of parents had decided to send their children for in-person learning at Rough Hollow Elementary, the new Lake Travis ISD school serving Sweetwater.

Located less than 3 miles from Sweetwater’s main entrance, Rough Hollow Elementary is a $33 million school with more than 102,000 square feet and capacity for 850 students.

This new school has a host of innovative features designed to help students learn and thrive, according to Erik Leitner with Austin-based Pfluger Architects, which designed the building.

 

Just a few of these features include:

  • All common spaces, such as the cafeteria, media center and gym, are at the center of the building, with classrooms around the perimeter. This layout helps to reduce noises and distractions that occur during the day, such as at lunchtime.
  • All common spaces are connected to a two-story atrium that floods the entire building with natural light. As the main intersection for every corridor, this atrium provides connectivity for the entire building. It’s designed to be a cozy and welcoming space that Leitner likens to “the fireplace hearth of a family room where everyone comes to gather and interact.”
  • Each grade level area includes a “neighborhood space,” a flexible learning area that can be used for collaborative learning, watching movies and other activities. The layout can be adjusted for different uses, and the furniture is moveable.
  • Sustainability is a major feature. The school has two cisterns to collect rainwater and condensation from the HVAC equipment. One is located at the front entry, with the other in the back. Stormwater drainage is directed to bio-retention basins that support native landscaping.

Any parent or student who has spent any time at Lake Travis ISD’s West Cypress Hills Elementary, which served Sweetwater until this year, may feel like Rough Hollow Elementary seems very familiar. That’s because Rough Hollow Elementary is an updated and improved version of the older school, which itself was a new design prototype when it was built.

One change made for Rough Hollow Elementary is that central computer lab space in the older school has been built as a flexible multipurpose room for students and staff to use. The room feels very open and inviting, with windows to the interior as well as to the outdoors.

“Since every classroom at Rough Hollow has a Chromebook tower, we didn’t need a central computer lab, so we wanted to repurpose this space as an area that could enhance learning for both the students and staff,” said Angela Frankhouser, principal of Rough Hollow Elementary.

For physical education, the school has a gym with cushioned vinyl flooring and a full-size basketball court, along with two covered playgrounds.

Meet the Principal

Mrs. Frankhouser was most recently principal at Lake Travis Elementary School. She has nearly 25 years of wide-ranging experience and success in public education, having served in various classroom and administrative roles.

Mrs. Frankhouser began her career as a science teacher at the Austin Independent School District. In 2006, the Lubbock native joined Lake Travis High School where she taught biology and chemistry and also served as a TAKS Specialist before being promoted to Assistant Principal.

She then served two years as assistant principal at Lake Travis Elementary School before being promoted to principal, a position she has held since 2013. She earned a bachelor’s degree in science from the University of Texas and a master’s degree in educational administration from Concordia University.

Mrs. Frankhouser and her husband, Jason, have two children—Jake and Ace, both of whom attend Lake Travis High School.

She leads a staff of about 75 teachers who were hired from district schools including Lake Travis Elementary and West Cypress Hills Elementary, along with teachers who are new to the district.

Learn more about all of the highly regarded Lake Travis ISD schools serving Sweetwater.