Friday morning, community members from around the region, as well as dignitaries from El Paso Community College (EPCC) and Texas Tech celebrated the Grand Opening of EPCC’s new architecture building with a ribbon cutting ceremony and building tours.
The new building is the home for a partnership between EPCC and Texas Tech University El Paso. Through this collaboration, students take their first two years of architecture classes at EPCC, then complete a bachelor’s degree in architecture at Texas Tech.
The EPCC Architecture Z Building is the home of this new program, located on the college’s flagship Valle Verde Campus (919 Hunter), between student service building and Building ‘A.’ (map)
Representatives from both institutions as well as students talked about importance of this program for our community.
“We are dedicated to providing students the knowledge needed to gain career opportunities in architecture, the building industry and many related fields,” Dr. Carlos Amaya, Dean of Architecture, Math and Science said.
EPCC has offered architecture as a program of study since 1987 and the program has more than 260 graduates. The partnership with Texas Tech began in 2005 and more than 150 students have completed this program. Many have gone on to complete master’s degrees and have become licensed architects. These graduates are working locally and throughout the nation.
“EPCC is transforming education with progress, innovation and engagement. The Architecture Program is just one example of this innovation,” Dr. William Serrata, EPCC President said.
One of these graduates, Emmanuel Rubio is a first generation American who dreamed about being an architect since he was a child. He achieved his dream and received his Associate’s of Arts in Architecture in 2008, received his Bachelor’s of Arts in Architecture from Texas Tech in 2011 and his Masters from Lawrence Technological in 2016. He currently works for the local architectural firm Wright and Dalbin Architects. “My experience at El Paso Community College and Texas Tech University have been far beyond what I had ever anticipated,” Rubio said. “I’m certain I wouldn’t have been able to accomplish my dreams without the two.”
This program is the result of significant collaboration and partnerships. The El Paso architecture community provided vision and leadership to provide a professional architecture pathway for the students in the region.
The Departmet of Education funded the building through a HSI STEM Architecture Grant. “This partnership is fully visible in the new Architecture Building at the Valle Verde Campus,” Dr. Valerie Osland Paton, Special Assistant to the President/Provost for SACSCOC Certification of Compliance Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center, El Paso said. “The building and professional architecture degree pathway is a testimony to what can be created through sustained partnerships between communities, community colleges and universities.”
EPCC also announced that new Texas Architecture Curriculum was recently approved by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB). The EPCC/Texas Tech partnership served as a model for developing this curriculum. As a result, the field of study is now posted on the THECB website and has been shared with higher education institutions statewide.
“This grand opening marks an important milestone in EPCC’s efforts to create access to affordable education and to increase the number of graduates in our region,” Art Fierro, EPCC Board of Trustees Chair said. “Together we will further expand the pathway to higher education and build the next generation of architects.”