UVALDE, Texas– The Uvalde School District Foundation, which has been tasked with building a school to replace Robb Elementary, announced Monday its proposal to build a new $50 million school two miles from the site of the massacre that last year May 21 people died, ABC News reported.
“It was a really emotional experience for me, and I think a lot of the other committee members,” Natalia Arias, co-chair of the community advisory committee for the project, said Monday night during a presentation of the proposal. “We really had to think carefully about what types of people should feel most secure and most proud of the space.”
The proposal for the new school includes 39 classrooms in three grade levels, three science and technology rooms, two arts rooms and 14 special education classrooms. The proposed site is adjacent to Flores Elementary, an existing preschool through first grade.
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The proposal will go to the school board for approval on Wednesday, when community members can offer their opinions. About 50 people attended Monday’s presentation, including some school board members and interim superintendent Gary Patterson.
The group did not propose a name for the new school, saying the process will take more time. The current Robb Elementary School building will be demolished but plans to redevelop the site have yet to be released.
“The committee recognizes that the school could not remain in its current location, which could create a void in the neighborhood,” said Eulalio “Lalo” Diaz, a committee representative. “The redevelopment of the Robb site needs to be thoughtful and involve the wide range of stakeholders required to get this right.”
Robb Elementary School has a history prior to the May shooting. In 1970, it was involved in one of the Chicano rights movement’s largest demonstrations: a strike protesting the firing of a beloved teacher. That story was not mentioned during Monday’s proposal presentation, but a spokesman for the Charles Butt Foundation acknowledged that the activism story at Robb Elementary is something the committee considered.
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Arias said they are working to “create a campus that reflects the richness of the community’s culture.”
Huckabee Architects, the architectural firm that donated $8 million worth of its manpower to the project, plans to break ground on the school in June 2023. The school will be completed in October 2024, according to project director Jeff Rodriguez.
The school is financed by donations. They have received $18 million in donations so far, according to the foundation’s executive director, Tim Miller. That includes $10 million from the Charles Butt Foundation, the philanthropic organization of the CEO of popular Texas supermarket chain HEB.
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The prevalence of rescue operations – high-speed car chases between law enforcement and immigrants crossing the border – was taken into account in the school’s location and design, according to the presentation. The frequency of rescue operations led to a decreased sense of urgency in responding to the scene during the shooting after the mass shooting, according to the Texas investigative report.
The new school will be shaped by that past, but also offer hope for the future, said committee member Bryan Perez.
“I’ve been very cautious, will we be able to take all the different aspects of reflecting on why we’re here, but also be able to move forward?” Perez said. “Knowing that we will work to create a facility for our community that will endure for nearly a century.”
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https://6abc.com/uvalde-school-shooting-aftermath-robb-elementary-closed-proposal-to-build-new-texas/12455683/ Uvalde school shooting aftermath: School district foundation announces $50M proposal for replacement for Robb Elementary School