The Del Valle Independent School District covers what is roughly the southeast sector of Travis County . Bound on the north by Manor, on the west by Austin , and on the east and south by the Travis County line, the District contains 174 square miles. The District serves the following seven communities; Pilot Knob, Creedmoor, Webberville/Hornsby-Dunlap, Garfield, Elroy, Del Valle and Montopolis.
In the year 1812, when Texas was still under the domination of Spain, the Spanish government awarded a land grant on the fertile Colorado river basin in Central Texas to a Coahuila estate owner named Santiago Del Valle. Thus, the community of Del Valle was born. Since that era of settlement, Del Valle has developed into a thriving community bustling with the activities of farming and ranching combined with suburban and urban neighborhoods. Prior to the opening of Austin-Bergstrom Airport the District served students from the military life at Bergstrom Air Force Base.
The first educational facility was called the Colorado Common School District Number 36, and was located west of the present site near the interchange of Highways 71 and 183. In 1952, when the enrollment was approximately 600 students, the city of Austin annexed a portion (approximately one-third) of the school district which included the Montopolis area and the Austin Country Club property. This move included the site of the school buildings, thus making it necessary to relocate. The new site was across from the main entrance to Bergstrom Air Force Base (currently Austin-Bergstrom Airport ). A ten classroom building was erected and named I. W. Popham Elementary, honoring Mr. Irvin W. Popham, who served Travis County as its school superintendent for 28 years. Grades one through eight were being taught in all schools in the District and grades nine through twelve were transferred to the Austin Public Schools .
The trend of increasing enrollment in the District had begun and, in 1953-54, additions were made to Popham Elementary School . The annexation of the Dry Creek School District in September of 1954 added to the growth of the Colorado School District . Thoughts were being turned toward the building of a new high school to meet the educational needs of the growing community. The School Board purchased 20 acres of land and voted bonds to pay for the buildings. The enrollment had climbed to approximately 850 by 1956, and further, expanded with the annexation of Pilot Knob Acres (August, 1956) and Pilot Knob (November, 1956).
The new school, erected in 1956, was named Del Valle Junior-Senior High School and contained grades seven through ten. The school colors selected were red and white and the mascot was the "Cardinal". Grade eleven was added in 1957; grade twelve in 1958 with the first graduating class in May of 1959.
In 1958 the Cardinal Field was opened and served as a home field for the school's football teams. Another building program was passed during the 1959-60 school year and resulted in the construction of a new junior high school to house grades seven and eight. The following year, an athletic and physical education field house for the junior and senior high schools was approved. In 1962, the field house was completed, thus finishing that period of construction.
The District continued to change. The Elroy Common School District joined with the Colorado Common School District in 1961, making it the largest common school district in the state of Texas . In April of 1963, the Colorado Common School District #36 officially became Del Valle Independent #910. Further growth of the District was realized when Creedmoor Common School District #41 was annexed in September of 1966, and Hornsby-Dunlap Common School District was annexed in May, 1967.
With the annexation of these Districts, enrollment increased significantly and another building program was begun. A new middle school was completed in 1972 on the site of the Del Valle High School Campus. Included in this project were a music building, a gymnasium, an auto mechanics shop, and a vocational agriculture shop and classroom for use by the high school. To provide space for the younger students, Smith Elementary School was built and occupied during the 1971-72 school year. In 1972, Cardinal Field's name was changed to Veteran's Memorial Stadium. In 1978 the facility was improved. Enrollment continued to increase and Hillcrest Elementary School was built and occupied during the 1981-82 school year. Baty Elementary School was added as part of a1984 bond program.
Del Valle has experienced drastic changes over the past two decades. Bergstrom Air Force Base was purchased by the city of Austin and became the Austin-Bergstrom Airport . This caused the District to re-locate Baty Elementary, Hillcrest Elementary, Popham Elementary and the Del Valle High School to the current sites today. The passage of additional bonds provided new campuses for the increasing number of students. Currently the District has eight elementary schools (Baty, Creedmoor, Del Valle, Gilbert, Hillcrest, Popham, and Smith), three middle schools, (Dailey, Del Valle, and Ojeda), one high school (Del Valle High School), one alternative high school (Del Valle Opportunity Center), and a Child Development Center. The District has grown from the original 600 students in 1952 to the approximate 12,000 students we have today.