El Paso ISD celebrated the opening of the $44.3 million Don Haskins PK-8 Friday giving a peak into the 2016 Bond consolidation that united pre-k to eighth grade students from three campuses.
The ceremony also paid tribute to the school’s namesake, UTEP’s legendary Coach Don Haskins.
Don Haskins PK-8, which combines Lincoln Middle with Bond and Roberts elementary, boasts 21st-century classrooms, a new gym and library, fine arts classrooms and modern administrative offices. The project also renovated existing buildings at Lincoln.
“The building is state-of-the-art,” said principal Haidi Appel. “We have lots of flexible spaces that we can use for different activities throughout school day. It gives us the opportunity to really make a difference for our students.”
The combination of the elementary campuses with their feeder middle school also provides an enriching experience for students at all grade levels.
“I love the fact that we are pre-k through 8,” Appel said. “This building allows us to have all children together in one campus. To watch older siblings dropping their little brothers and sisters off and to see them with each other throughout the day is amazing.”
Pre-kinder all the way up to eighth grade took part in the festivities Friday, already showing the unity of the newly consolidated campus. Eight grader Tiabaut Spilliaert helped kick off the ceremony by welcoming the community and introducing superintendent Diana Sayavedra.
“While I do love the classrooms and the library, I must say that as an athlete one of my favorite areas is the new gym and the locker rooms,” Thiabaut said. “I’m honored that the school is named for Don Haskins. He would be impressed with us and our basketball team right now.”
The ribbon-cutting marked Sayavedra’s first official ceremony in her new role as superintendent. She joined with other El Paso ISD officials and community members to tour the campus and meet students and staff, enjoying the chance to see a mix of talent from the sun bears and Haskins’ feeder high schools Coronado and Franklin.
“We had a wonderful student welcome for the community and visitors this morning,” Sayavedra said. “I got to watch the Franklin band and Coronado band duel for a little while and see our sun bear cheerleaders in action.”
The new facility also impressed the new superintendent – especially the modern learning spaces.
“I truly believe learning spaces are critical to the learning process, and so this is a great opportunity for our teachers and students to be as innovative as possible because they have state-of-the-art learning places in which to engage in the learning process,” Sayavedra said.
Sayavedra joined with Coach Haskins’ son Brett Haskins and other dignitaries to officially cut the ceremonial ribbon. He spoke proudly about his dad who in 1966 broke barriers when he started five African American players in the NCAA men’s basketball championship and won.
“On behalf of my family, this is a wonderful, wonderful honor,” Brett Haskins said. “He would be flattered beyond words. Thank you everyone remembering my dad and his spirit in this way. His spirit of hard work and doing the right thing will live on in these students.”