The Texas Association of School Administrators and Texas Association of School Boards recently awarded the new Pebble Hills High School with a Star of Distinction for Excellence in Design at its annual Exhibit of School Architecture.

The exhibit showcases new and renovated Texas schools and celebrates excellence in planning and design of the learning environment. TASA/TASB uses an independent panel of judges — made up of school administrators, school board members, and architects — to select the Stars of Distinction for K-12 school projects across the state.

“Parkhill, Smith & Cooper worked with Socorro ISD to master-plan the entire 70-acre high school site. The district started the campus as a 9th Grade Academy,” said Hector De Santiago, PSC Principal in charge of design. “I remember starting the first phase of this project back in 2007 when the site was just sand dunes. We have enjoyed working on every design phase since then, culminating with the final phase, which included the athletic spaces and the fine arts spaces as well as the Career and Technology building. Throughout the initial master planning to the final phase of construction, it was our goal to make all of the diverse facilities on site relevant and special. Although the CATE facility was a standalone, separate building, it is viewed as just as important as the main building to the students.”

The innovative spaces in Socorro ISD’s $56 million expansion project include a top-notch fine arts practice room and auditorium, a mock trial classroom, and a culinary arts room with professional equipment that is used for the student-run café. The athletics portion of the campus includes a competition gym that rivals some colleges.

“Our mission and goal is to create vibrant, collaborative learning environments that the district and students can be proud of and are eager to go to every day,” De Santiago said. “I think we’ve accomplished that with Pebble Hills.”