It may have been a surprise when the Socorro Independent School District in the fall of 2017 asked local voters to approve an unprecedentedly large facility bond of more than $448 million.
What wasn’t a surprise was that those voters, responding to a SISD public information campaign, would show enthusiasm for one aspect of the bond program: the planned $135 million upgrading and renovation of the Socorro High School.
That facility, located at 10150 Alameda Avenue, has long been sentimentally regarded as the flagship school in a district made up of nearly fifty high schools, middle schools, and elementary schools, a fact that in no small part accounted for the bond passing with more than 60 percent of the vote.
Working subsequently with community groups, the SISD, along with the Fort Worth-based VLK Architects, has been putting together a plan to modernize a structure completed in 1965 and praised at its opening by the El Paso Times for the “distinctive native rock walls” decorating its corridors and “accenting other rooms.”
Plans now call for expanding the size of the facility, modernizing its classroom and lab spaces, and creating a new vehicle pick-up space for students on land adjacent to the school.
SISD officials have also talked of keeping intact, but updating, the school’s auditorium, fine arts area, and gymnasium, while perhaps also adding another floor to the building.
A centerpiece of the building’s modernization is the quest for more space. With a current enrollment of roughly 2,400, SISD officials want a facility that will be able to comfortably accommodate up to 3,000 students.
It is expected that the design phase for the high school, located about 18 miles southeast of downtown El Paso, will be completed in early 2019, with construction beginning shortly afterwards.
By Garry Boulard
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