Courtesy City of El Paso
On Monday, El Paso City Council approved moving forward with the construction of the Mexican American Cultural Center (MACC).
“As a service-focused organization, investing in customer experience is essential for us and attainable through our strategic policies and sound financial and investment planning,” said Sam Rodriguez, Chief Operations and Transportation Officer. “Our Downtown Arts District will undergo spectacular changes because we are able to optimize our resources to support amenities our community told us they wanted to see when we open the doors to this new dynamic public space co-located by the MACC and the Main Library.”
The Main Library will also see customer experience improvements and incorporate additional design ideas proposed by the public, which will be completed with additional savings leveraged from existing resources to address the public’s input.
The MACC is the only 2012 bond-project which included a subcommittee created of citizens appointed by the Council to drive deeper public engagement, develop community-driven programming, and site recommendations. The extensive public outreach for this project began in 2015.
Construction on the two projects will start this fall and are expected to be completed by summer 2023. Construction was originally slated to start in 2020 and was deferred to allow the City to navigate the global financial uncertainty caused by the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic. Co-locating the MACC and the Main Library was approved by City Council in 2018.
The MACC will be dedicated to the preservation and celebration of El Paso’s unique Mexican American culture and history.
Among the dedicated pieces paying homage to that history will be “The Insurmountable Task,” a memorial that honors the brave sacrifice of the Men of Company E, the only Mexican American infantry unit that fought in WWII. The group was composed of 250 soldiers from across Texas, including 124 from El Paso.
When completed, the MACC will include amenities and programmatic spaces that will provide opportunities for creative output within all disciplines including exhibition and performance spaces, a black box theater, a state-of-the-art auditorium, classrooms, dance studios, broadcast and recording studios, culinary programs, artist in residence studios, a roof-top lounge and much more.
The programmed upgrades to the Main Library will ensure all current services and amenities are maintained or enhanced. Once renovated, the Main Library will continue serving visitors with traditional and modern library services such as story times, computer access, study spaces, research support, teen programs and more.
The renovation will include a restructuring of the library’s interior to make more efficient use of the downtown branch’s 60,000 square feet of space. The exterior portion of the building will showcase entrance improvements designed to have a pronounced visual impact on visitors to the branch.
City officials add that the increased project scope includes the renovation of Cleveland Square Park, located adjacent to the Main Library, to feature an amphitheater space, specialty equipment for programming, as well an enhanced entrance and new staircase for the Main Library, a new connecting breezeway from the new Children’s Area to Teen Town, and new furniture as part of the renovation.
The Council awarded the construction manager at risk agreement with a $22.5 million guaranteed maximum price to El Paso-based Sundt Construction.
The agreement will be funded through the voter-approved 2012 bond program, the 2019 Capital Plan, and the reallocation of approximately $7.3 million in combined cost savings from capital projects and investment interest yielded by strategic financial management practices.
For more information on the Mexican American Cultural Center, click here; for our continuing coverage of the Mexican American Cultural Center, click here.