There is a new addition to El Paso Community College's Valle Verde campus, a building that will house the architecture program. It's located at the center of the lower valley campus.
A grand opening will be held Friday morning on campus.
"Not many people today know know that a student in El Paso can receive the same identical degree here at EPCC and Texas Tech El Paso as you would if you could go to Lubbock or San Antonio or anywhere," said Ken Gorski, Architecture Discipline Coordinator at EPCC.
In 2005, EPCC created a partnership with Texas Tech to establish a four-year degree in architecture. Students spend two years at EPCC then complete to more years at Texas Tech El Paso, located at the El Paso Union Depot in downtown.
Students who complete the program get a Bachelor's of Environmental Design. A master's degree is required in Texas to become a licensed architect.
Gorski said Texas Tech was the only university in the state to agree to the partnership.
"Texas became the model for the country. What we started here in El Paso with 46 students and partnering with Texas Tech (Lubbock) has now gone statewide," Gorski said.
Now more community colleges and universities are trying to follow the same model, according to Gorski.
Gorski said students who stay in El Paso can save money on tuition the first two years because fees are substantially lower at community colleges.
"The workload is serious," said Wanda Camacho, a student at EPCC.
Camacho is not your typical student straight out of high school, she's been married for many years and recently decided to go back to school.
She hopes to stay in the city and work at a local firm once she is done with her degree.
Another student, Gonzalo Gonzalez is also a non-traditional college student. He's worked in architecture for about twenty years and is currently employed with McCormick Architecture.
Gonzalez completed his two years at EPCC and will now move on to Texas Tech El Paso. He wished he could take advantage of EPCC campus' new architecture building.
"I might come back here to study," Gonzalez joked.
He was encouraged by his family, boss and co-workers to go back to college and get his degree.
"You come out of it very exhausted, but it's so rewarding at the end to see your projects," Gonzalez said.