Leadership Institute Breaks Ground Near Lake Austin

The facility, slated for completion in the summer of 2020, will consist of 16 buildings, a 180-key residential village, an event room for up to 300 guests, interactive classrooms and seminar spaces.

By Anca Gagiuc

The Holdsworth Center for Excellence in Education Leadership—founded in January 2017 by H-E-B CEO & Chairman Charles Butt, in partnership with public schools in Texas, has broken ground on a 44-acre, lakefront campus for a leadership institute. Completion is slated for the summer of 2020.

At the center of the 16-building campus is a commons and natural meadow, with most of the buildings surrounding the commons, while the main pedestrian walkway connects all of them for easy access. The administration building will house staff, while the main learning center will feature an event room for up to 300 guests, a lounge and full-service kitchen, as well as interactive classrooms and seminar spaces. A library will house a book collection on education, while video screens will display TED-type talks.

A 180-key residential village will accommodate participants for overnight stays, with a community “living room” on each floor, a kitchenette, couches and a screened-in porch. Nearby, three small casitas with six suites will house guest lecturers. Moreover, further down by the water, a social hub with outdoor decks and a screened-in porch will be used for daily activities, as well as outdoor games. A smaller, open-air pavilion will host outdoor talks and lectures, while on the lake’s edge, an old dock will turn into an outdoor, two-story classroom.

Long-Term Commitment

The campus groundbreaking brings Charles Butt’s financial commitments in support of Texas public schools to more than $330 million over the past three years, including staff, programming and construction costs, as well as the Charles Butt Scholarship program. Lake Flato Architects and Ten Eyck Landscape Architects handled the design of the center, which will incorporate stone, wood, metal and a combination of sloped roofs that evoke a Hill Country aesthetic. The Beck Group is the construction manager for the project.

“We wanted to create a campus that reflects the mission of The Holdsworth Center, a place that is intentionally designed to foster reflection and growth,” David Lake, co-founder & partner at Lake Flato, said in a prepared statement. “Educators will hear from leadership experts from all over the world. Our hope is that by creating the right environment for learning, it will inspire guests to innovate and take intellectual risks.”

“The site for the Holdsworth Center is truly unique with its position along the shoreline of Lake Austin. We are dedicated to preserving the beauty of the site and surrounding area and are working closely with our project partners to preserve the site and its surroundings,” added Peter Beck, executive chairman of The Beck Group, an entity involved in the renovation and expansion of Omni Barton Creek Resort & Spa, located about 11 miles from the leadership institute.

Video courtesy of The Holdsworth Center