EL PASO, Texas - What ever happened to a couple of schools meant to be built after voters approved a $230 million El Paso Independent School District bond in 2007?
In an email sent to ABC-7, a viewer asked: "How about the 2007 bond issue construction and refurbishments that were approved for a new Far East elementary, Northwest middle, Northeast High, all for new construction plus a few others: $142,595,868. Can someone let them know when this will get built?"
According to EPISD, about $102 million was used for either building or reconstructing six schools. Brown Middle School, off Helen of Troy Drive, was built in Northwest El Paso. However, the Far East elementary school and the new high school in the Northeast were not built.
EPISD Executive Director of Planning and Schools Construction Carlos Gallinar told ABC-7 that for those two schools, the population did not grow as projected and the district decided not to build them.
"There were all these plans that the public service board had done, the projections that EPISD was utilizing to justify, not only the elementary school, but the high school was based on those projections," Gallinar said. "So we know now that growth is mostly on the Eastside, some in the Northwest, some in the Northeast, but not enough to justify building a new school, especially, when you looked at the district as a whole, and the Northeast in particular, that enrollment is declining within those areas where the school would've been built."
Gallinar further stated, "Had we built the new middle school in the Northeast, had we built the new elementary school, I think people would've been upset had we known that the population is not there to support it."
Roughly $57 million meant for both schools was re-allocated to other projects. $52.6 million went toward projects that are either currently in the design phase, under construction or are already completed.
"The board of managers at that time wanted to make sure that a bulk of the money stayed in the north east and so that's why you had Andress receive $10.2 million and Irvin receive $25.5 million to ensure that the funds that had been originally allocated in the north east stayed in the north east," Gallinar said.
About $4 million is going toward other improvements like athletic upgrades to Franklin High School and improvements at Mesita Elementary.