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New Bond 2016 school will honor Coach Archie Duran

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(DOWELL ELEMENTARY SCHOOL -- Aug. 30, 2019) — EPISD officially broke ground Friday on the new $28.3 million Coach Archie Duran Elementary School that will unite the communities of Schuster, Dowell and Crosby in anticipation of the consolidation of the three schools. 

The Duran family joined with the school’s future students at Dowell Elementary for the ceremonial turning of the dirt. Their beloved Archie died in 2017 in a tragic bus accident on his way back from taking his Irvin High School track team to a meet in Lubbock. The coach and longtime teacher spent his career at Jefferson High School and his alma mater, Irvin High School. 

The future Coach Archie Duran Comets will fittingly feed to Irvin.

“As we continue to celebrate his life it is just so fitting that the school is being named after him,” his sister Maria Biggs said during the ceremony.

She shared the spirit of her brother, known for being a gifted athlete and an inspiring coach.

“Archie taught us hope – unwavering hope. We share in the hope that future students of the Coach Archie Duran Elementary School are inspired to strive for more – for better,” Biggs added. “We will continue to persevere. We will continue to do great things by him because that's what he taught us.” 

The new campus, built for 900 students, replaces the 60-year-old Dowell with state-of-the-art amenities and modern architecture. EPISD this year consolidated Schuster with Dowell.  The students at Crosby will merge with Dowell to form Duran Elementary when the school opens in 2021.

“Just the building itself is going to have a lot of modern updates that are really necessary for the changing times,” said Dowell Elementary principal Yeni Ontiveros. “This is just going to be something great that we are able to offer our community and students.” 

Crosby principal Alonzo Barraza also looks forward to how the updates will complement students’ current and future ways of learning. 

“The building will be made for the new modes of education that are coming in, active learning and all of the technology that's being implemented. Our students will be able to access more technology.”

Crosby second graders joined with their future peers at Dowell for the ground-breaking – some taking up pint-sized shovels to get into the ground-breaking action.

“It’s going to be awesome,” Sarahi Borges, a Crosby second-grader. “I feel good about it.” 

Her future classmate Sabastian Aponte, currently at Dowell, looks forward to moving into the shiny new building and the aspect of the campuses uniting.

“I’m excited that I will get to meet new friends,” he said.

Students already see the early progress of construction crews on their new school, which is safely fenced off on the Dowell site. Duran Elementary marks EPISD’s 14th groundbreaking of projects funded through the $668.8 million. 

“These new campuses and facilities are good for the community and necessary for the future of learning,” Barraza said. “We are grateful that the community stepped up and said ‘yes’ to the bond.”

Story by Reneé de Santos
Photos by Leonel Monroy