The El Paso Independent School District and the family of the late Archie Duran gathered on Friday to celebrate the opening of a new state-of-the-art elementary in the Northeast that bears the name of the beloved Irvin coach who died in 2017.
The new $28.3 million Coach Archie Duran Elementary School in Northeast El Paso consolidates the former Dowell, Crosby and Schuster elementary schools into a spacious 900-student campus filled with wide open spaces, collaborative learning environments and modern amenities. It is built using EPISD Bond funds on the site of the former Dowell.
“We’re very excited,” said Principal Yeni Ontiveros, who led the ribbon-cutting ceremony. “We’ve been waiting for this moment for many years for our new beautiful campus and the great learning opportunities that the students are going to have here.”
The proud principal beamed with excitement when asked about the stunning new building.
“My favorite part is just seeing kids smiling in awe of the spaces,” she said. “It’s got open spaces. The windows give it great lighting – making it a naturally happy place.”
Fifth grader Rolando Molina, a former Crosby student, led a tour around the campus showing community members classrooms and some of his favorite parts of the school.
“It’s awesome,” he said. “They did a good job making this school.”
His classmate Katarina Benko pointed out the school’s patterns and bright colors and the cool furniture for collaborative learning outside of the classrooms.
“I like that it’s super colorful. It’s fun,” she said. “It’s super big. Dowell only had one story, and this is two stories. Also, kids have workspaces outside of the classroom.”
More than a dozen members of Duran’s family visited the campus for the official dedication, participating in the ceremony and taking tours.
“It’s overwhelming,” Archie’s sister ElizaBeth Duran Arrambide said. “It’s emotional, sentimental but amazing. Just the fact that we’re seeing his name everywhere brings joy to me and the rest of the family.”
During the ceremony, Duran Arrambide spoke about her brother and how proud she is of his accomplishments as a coach and teacher at both Jefferson and Irvin, sharing how grateful she and the family are to see the campus named in his memory. Fittingly, a portion of the elementary school feeds to Irvin, so many of today’s Duran Comets and future Comets will take the same path he did to his alma mater.
“He was honest and genuine. Everyone loved him,” she said. “He would tell his students ‘it’s not about the winning. Of course, you’re going out there to get the win, but if you don’t, did you have fun? Because that’s what about.’”
The ceremony concluded with Archie Duran’s wife Maribel Duran joining students, EPISD dignitaries and others involved in the construction to officially cut the ribbon.
“We want to thank everyone from the School Board and anyone who helped us accomplish this. It’s beautiful … state of the art,” said Maribel Duran, a teacher at Jefferson. “My son told me ‘we didn’t get anything like this (in elementary school).’ I told him ‘you guys are too old for this. This is for the future. We are so very honored that they did this for him.”