The residents of Culberson County-Allamoore ISD in Van Horn, Texas, celebrated the groundbreaking of new renovations to a school this past month.

The residents voted in a 2016 bond issue to pay for a school for pre-K to 12th grades. The school will include science labs, a metal shop, wood shop and competition gym. The construction will include renovating the existing gym to be used as an auxiliary gym.

Hector De Santiago, AIA, firm principal with Parkhill, Smith & Cooper, said when designs began for the consolidated school in Van Horn he took CCAISD staff on a tours to see schools his team designed in Odessa as well as Midland schools designed by architects in PSC’s Midland office.  The project will focus on a 21st Century Learning Environment and will maximize the budget they had originally set for a more traditional school. The school will have multiple floors and will incorporate the existing auditorium and tennis courts.

“Thus we were able to do magic, actually, to make this a reality for them,” Hector said. “Incorporating hub spaces, studio spaces, very flexible learning spaces with operable glass partitions, lots of natural light and flexibility for them to be able to collaborate among different classrooms together and within the hub space itself.

“And then bringing in a very good new competition gym, turning their existing gymnasium into an auxiliary gym and incorporating some of the library components into the hub spaces so they have a dispersed library space within the hub spaces.”

Dalia Benavides, superintendent of CCAISD, said that the design also addressed several challenges with their existing school building. She said the current school is crowded and has security issues. Controlling the temperature of the building is another obstacle.

The school will have three academic wings with a corridor that doubles as a collaboration pod, shared teaching space or gathering area. The Commons will serve as a dining space and will have a portable stage for presentations, television screens, colorful accents and a multi-level vaulted skylight archway.

At the groundbreaking ceremony Dalia said, “Today is the first day for a new future for the kids in Van Horn.”

The ceremony took place for the new CCAISD school in May where students were invited to participate in the ceremony and to a cookout. Construction is scheduled to be begin in June.