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Austin High cuts ribbon on $25.1 million EPISD Bond modernization project

(AUSTIN HIGH SCHOOL – May 13, 2022) – The El Paso Independent School District on Friday celebrated the completion of the $25.1-million Bond modernization projects at the historic Austin High School with a ribbon-cutting ceremony in front of the new Performing Arts Center.

Modernization of the 92-year-old high school includes cosmetic improvements to the campus, new LED lighting, HVAC system replacement, roof upgrades and the replacement of windows. Additionally, the new 350-seat Performing Arts Center also includes a band room, orchestra room, and a multipurpose room.

Austin’s courtyard also received its share of upgrades with new landscaping, new seating areas and an outdoor amphitheater.

“We’re so glad we are able to get this modernization but still keeping the historical aspect of the school,” said principal Cyndi Ponce. “When you have a beautiful place like this, it changes the environment.”

Student co-emcee and theater student Celeste Roman sees the new theater as a point of pride for today’s panthers and a great selling point for future thespians.

“I love it,” said Roman, who won best actress at bi-district one-act play. “I’ve been in theater since my freshman year. We started in a classroom, so it was a really nice feeling to go from a small stage to big stage to express ourselves. I hope this building encourages students to get into the theater program. It’s a great theater program and we’d love to have new students.”

Her co-emcee and fellow thespian Marcus Moreno loves the new theater building – noting the larger theater space, improved lighting and other modern features. But overall, he’s glad he enjoyed watching the modernization of his high school.

“It’s been sorely overdue,” the senior said. “Our building was slowly coming apart and the renovations in the new building are so beautiful. I love modern pieces. The new windows, the classroom renovations and touch-ups make it a fun learning environment.”

With the completion of the Austin scope of work, the District has celebrated the completion of nine of the 17 major projects that make up the EPISD Bond program. The District previously had ribbon cutting ceremonies for Bond work at Andress High, Burges High, Irvin High, Don Haskins PK-8, Gen. Douglas MacArthur PK-8, Crockett Elementary, Dr. Joseph Torres Elementary and Coach Archie Duran Elementary.

EPISD also has celebrated the scope of work completion for other bond-funded programs that include the purchase of Apple laptops for students, the replacement of school buses and athletic upgrades throughout the District.

Austin Ribbon Cutting
Austin Ribbon Cutting

Video by Angel Dominguez

Story by Reneé de Santos
Photos by Raymond Jackson