• August 2, 2021

EPISD breaks ground on new Coach Wally Hartley PK-8 School

The Ross Middle and Hughey Elementary communities came together on Monday for the official groundbreaking ceremony of the new Coach Wally Hartley Prek-8 School, the EPISD Bond consolidation of the two campuses.

Members of the Hartley family joined with EPISD and campus leadership for the socially-distant ceremonial turning of dirt on the $48 million Bond 2016 project slated for completion in fall 2023.

“It is exciting to be part of this change that will bring together two communities into a modern campus that will help meet the needs of children in our neighborhoods,” said Hughey principal Lilia Aguilera. “The PK-8 school experience will offer students continuity and a smoother transition between elementary and middle school.”

Aguilera and Ross principal Jason Yturralde look forward to the new technology and more opportunities to meet 21st century needs while uniting their schools.

“The new technology and innovativeness of the building will enhance the successful programs we already have including our STEM Engineering program and RossFit,” Yturalde said. “What I’m looking forward to is this beautiful place to learn in an environment that is warm and welcoming and inviting.”

The new Hartley school is posthumously named in honor of a former coach who spent more than 20 years at Ross successfully coaching winning teams in football, track and cross country. His wife Connie Hartley and daughter Shawna Hartley proudly participated in the ceremony reminiscing about their loved one’s winning career and the impact he left on his students and the community.

“My dad was very hardworking,” Shawna said. “He could make miracles of nothing. He had very little resources but instead of dwelling that he didn’t have this or didn’t have that, he turned very little into magic. He was a good role model for children and parents and he loved what he did. It’s hard to find people who really truly love their profession and really put the investment into children.”

Connie Hartley recalled her husband’s disciplinarian style and winning record – traits that he instilled in his students.

“It didn’t matter what school he was at, he always seemed to have a winning team,” Connie Hartley said. “He started off at Crockett and went to Dowell Elementary to here. His legacy as he left each school was discipline and a very winning season.”

Ross alum Edmundo Calderon was instrumental in the nomination of his former coach and mentor – knowing his legacy would inspire future generations of soon-to-be Hartley Hurricanes. The coaching icon who won 19 championships in football, track and cross country left a mark on Calderon that carries with him today.

“Producing top quality athletes was not his major accomplishment,” Calderon said. “He taught you to respect your teachers, administrators, and your parents. He encouraged his students to continue their education, wanting them to be successful in life.  Just ask any of his students, you will be surprised on what you hear.  You will hear about a student’s love for their teacher but you will also hear about a teacher’s love for his students.  I’ll always remembering his motto, “Pride Makes Champions.”

To learn more about the construction project and follow its progress, check out the EPISD Bond Dashboard here.

Author: Story by Reneé de Santos  |  Photos by Leonel Monroy  |  Video by Angel Dominguez – EPISD

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