Texas

Bassett Middle School: Will EPISD renovate or rebuild?

Northeast Middle School

EL PASO, Texas - Tuesday, the El Paso Independent Independent School Districts' Facilities Committee will vote on the future of Bassett Middle School.

The 2016 bond requires a new northeast middle school to be built with: "either major renovations and improvements to Bassett Middle School or construction of a new Northeast middle school as a replacement to Bassett Middle School, such option to be finally determined by the board."

The bond states nearly $25 million has been allocated to the new middle school.

The school district's facilities committee will soon have to make a decision: will it renovate or rebuild?

"They left two options on the compact," EPISD Spokesperson Melissa Martinez said, "either building on the current Bassett Middle School site, renovating the campus or building a new campus entirely at a different site."

Martinez said the old school is in serious need of renovations. "The HVAC is outdated," she said, "there is a lot of roofing, windows and exterior to fix. We want modern 21st century classes, but that is hard to do with buildings built in the 1950's."

Martinez said it would require a lot of retrofitting to make the renovations complete.

If the committee decides to build a new middle school, the district will be able to use Fort Bliss land. "We are working in partnership with Fort Bliss like we did with Chapin High School 15 years ago," Martinez said. "Fort Bliss came to us and said 'we would like to partner with you, we have this land available' and they are essentially giving it to us to build, so we wouldn't have to purchase the property." 

However, there are options for the board to consider when contemplating building a new school.

Option 1

Designing a new school with a 1,000 student capacity. The school would accommodate Bassett Middle School's current enrollment with that of Armendariz Middle School for about 971 students. 

The budget for option 1 would exceed the initial construction cost by about $10.5 million, district officials said. The additional cost comes from adding more square footage to the designs to accommodate the increase in student population.

Option 2

The district could transfer students to nearby campuses, which would include accommodating about 300 students and amending attendance zones. Students would be split between the new school and the Canyon Hills and Magoffin campuses.

Option 3

The district could also increase capacity at elementary schools, which would include expanding some elementary schools to keep students up until 6th grade. Currently, elementary schools within the district only keep students until the 5th grade.

"You can spend the same amount of money on renovations or build a new campus," Martinez said.

The board will vote on the project's site Tuesday, October 17.

"All of our projects will start breaking ground next summer," Martinez said. "The board has a strict timeline of 5 years and our expectation is to open this school in 2021."