There is a new elementary school in the El Paso Independent School District, and while the pandemic is keeping students and teachers at home for the time being, the beautiful new building is ready to welcome them as soon as health conditions allow.
Last week, officials cut the ribbon for the new Dr. Joseph Torres Elementary School, the EPISD Bond consolidation of the former Bradley and Fannin elementary schools. The new school is located at 10700 Rushing in El Paso’s Northeast.
The $20.4-million construction project features a new 50,000 square-foot building with modern early-education classrooms, administrative offices, a multi-purpose room and library.
It also features extensive renovations to existing buildings and upgrades to the kitchen and cafeteria.
“We are starting the school year virtually and we will be able to meet the academic needs of our students that way for the time being in order to comply with health guidelines,” said Torres Principal Kathleen Ese. “But this beautiful, modern school will be ready for our students whenever we can come in. We are excited for that day to come.”
The new school — named after a beloved El Paso activist, U.S. Army veteran and dentist — is part of EPISD’s modernization and rightsizing.
The Bond aimed to update schools throughout the District for 21st century learning and at the same time find ways to consolidate low-enrollment campuses into thriving new schools.
Health guidelines prevented the District from having a public ribbon-cuttingh ceremony. However, EPISD is committed to having a celebration that incluces tours, an open house and celebrations with the Torres family as soon as health conditions allow.
Principal Ese said the new school features designs that conform with EPISD’s innovative active-learning framework that allows students to learn using small group, hands-on and project-based learning.
It also features up-to-date technology throughout the campus, especially in the classrooms.
“Our students learn in a much more modern fashion than our old buildings allowed us to do, so Torres Elementary is now fully equipped to meet the challenges of 21st century teaching and learning,” Ese said.
The school also has updated playgrounds, open spaces and drop-off and pick-up areas.
Torres is the first consolidation completed as part of the EPISD Bond, with more ribbon cuttings soon to come in the near future.
“The pandemic has been a challenge for many industries but it has not stopped the construction process for EPISD,” said Alan Wiernicki, EPISD’s Chief Quality Officer. “Dr. Torres is a great example of the type of quality we can expect from the EPISD Bond program. It’s top notch.”
To learn more about Dr. Torres and all other EPISD Bond projects, visit the EPISD Bond website here.
Video by Raymond Jackson – EPISD