San Antonio State School

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San Antonio State School
Established 1973
Opened 1978
Current Status Active
Building Style Cottage Plan
Location San Antonio, TX
Alternate Names
  • San Antonio State Supported Living Center


he San Antonio State School, a long-term residential facility for the mentally retarded, is operated by the Texas Department of Mental Health and Mental Retardation. The establishment of the school was due to the efforts of Bexar County Representative Frank Lombardino and a group of San Antonio citizens, who worked hard to convince the Texas Legislature that a state school for the mentally ill was badly needed in their city. The Sixty-fourth Legislature authorized the school in 1973. The bill was written by Sen. Glenn Kothmann of San Antonio, sponsored in the House by Rep. G. J. Sutton of San Antonio, and signed by Governor Dolph Briscoe. In 1977 the legislature appropriated $27.1 million to renovate ten unused buildings of the San Antonio State Chest Hospital and to operate the San Antonio State School for three years. On March 27, 1978, State Representative Bob Vale, a member of the appropriations committee, welcomed 120 children to their new home in San Antonio. The school was initially headed by Dr. Robert Inglis, who also served as superintendent of the San Antonio State Chest Hospital. Dr. Tom Deliganis, formerly dean of occupational and continuing education at Laredo Junior College, was appointed assistant superintendent for the school. Professional staff were hired to provide the services needed: medical, dental, psychological, speech, audiological, direct care, and physical, occupational, and recreational therapy. The $4.8 million renovation of all ten buildings was completed in 1979, providing space for 440 residents, many of whom were coming home to Bexar County and others who had been on a waiting list of 640 persons from the South Texas area.

In July 1982 the TXMHMR board voted to separate the school from the state hospital; the necessary appropriations bill was passed in July 1983. Deliganis was named superintendent of the school, and in September 1983 the facility began operating with its own budget. The school is certified as an Intermediate Care Facility for the Mentally Retarded, which means it meets standards established by the federal government and generates federal funds which are deposited into the general revenue fund of the state of Texas. In November 1990 the school also achieved accreditation by the Accreditation Council on Services for People with Developmental Disabilities, a nationally recognized accrediting agency. Deliganis retired in 1993 and was succeeded by Wilbur Wood, who had served as business manager at Brenham State School and as assistant superintendent for administration at San Antonio State School. By 1994 the school had 324 residents and seven residential living units. Other buildings on campus included a developmental center with a swimming pool and gymnasium, a wheelchair fabrication shop, and administrative and staff development facilities. A supported employment workshop, El Negocio, was located in the business district near the campus.

The school's community services department sponsors six group homes in the local community, gives numerous workshops, and has an early childhood intervention program. Specialized services include rehabilitation optometry, orientation and mobility training, speech therapy, music and movement therapy, fabrication or modification of prescriptive equipment, and a seniors' program for people of retirement age. A community awareness program insures that residents are involved in the community and that other San Antonians participate actively in school activities. The mission of the San Antonio State School is to support the people it serves by enabling them to live productive lives.