Video+Story: EPISD breaks ground on new Bobby Joe Hill PreK-8 School

EPISD honored the life and legacy of the late Bobby Joe Hill, a trailblazer basketball player who led the 1966 Texas Western Miners to an NCAA championship, during the groundbreaking ceremony Friday on the site of the campus set to bear his name.

Hill, who was one of the five African-American starters that broke racial barriers in collegiate sports as part of legendary UTEP Coach Don Haskins team, was selected as the name that will carry the name of the Bond 2016 consolidation of Terrace Hills Middle School and Collins Elementary School.

His wife, Tina Hill, and other family members joined EPISD officials to celebrate the start of construction on the new, $35.4-million Northeast campus that is expected to be completed for the 2021 school year.

“I’m quite excited. It’s is unbelievable. It still hasn’t sunk in yet,” said Tina Hill, who taught at Terrace for 20 year and whose daughter attended both campuses. “It’s like coming back home.”

When talking about her husband’s legacy it’s hard for her not to mention his ‘66 teammates and the role education played in their lives.

“That entire team, all those guys besides basketball, they had wonderful character,” she said. “All of them pursued their education and came out with great careers. And that’s what we’re pushing on this campus.”

The naming of the campus also is significant to former Texas Western basketball player and Board President Bob Geske, who fondly recalls his days on and off the court with his teammate.

“Personally, this means a lot,” Geske said. “He was one of the finest people I ever met in my life.  He did so much for the community.”

In the Terrace Hills courtyard students stood around the architectural renderings of the new school pointing to the new features with pride about what it will become. During the ceremony, the middle schoolers watched from the second floor. A sea of Collins classmates sat below sporting construction hats with their new Hawk mascot ready to be united with the middle schoolers.

“I think it’s pretty exciting because since my brother is in this school and after school I can see him,” said third-grader Sebastian Contreras. “This school is going to be bigger so there’s a lot of places I can explore.”

Story by Reneé de Santos  |  Photos: L. Monroy & A. Beltran  |  Video by Raymond Jackson /  EPISD