One of the most architecturally grand public schools in the Southwest may soon be receiving up to $20 million in upgrades, as well as the construction of a new wing.
The El Paso High School at 1600 N. Virginia Street was designed by the well-known architect Henry Trost and features such Greco-Roman elements as an outdoor sunken stadium, a Corinthian porch, marble floors, and classical columns.
Known as the “Lady on the Hill,” the structure, which was officially opened on Thanksgiving Day 1916, is part of the El Paso Independent School District and also the oldest operating high school in metropolitan El Paso.
Now district officials are preparing for what will be a more than $19 million addition to the structure which will house the school’s fine arts program.
A rendering of that addition showing a two-story, glass-enclosed building, was released to the public earlier this year.
While plans for the new wing are still in the formative stage, members of the EPISD Board of Trustees have voted to approve a more than $450,000 contract with the Sunland Park-based Nine Degrees Architecture & Design, and the Gensler architectural firm of San Francisco to compile an architectural survey of the structure.
The survey is intended to give district officials an idea of the condition of the school and what part of the structure, if any, is in need of upgrading.
The survey, as well as the eventual work on the fine arts wing, will be paid for out of a $668 million bond passed by district voters in 2016.
By Garry Boulard
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