In keeping with the promises it made to voters during its 2015 bond campaign, the Ysleta Independent School District rang in the new year with the unveiling of its latest completed bond project: a modern, state-of-the-art Del Valle Middle School, which opened its doors to 1,300 students on Jan. 8 for the first day of the 2019 spring semester.

The new 202,000-square-foot Del Valle Middle, which shares the same Conquistador mascot as Del Valle High School, was built to accommodate students from the former Camino Real and Valley View middle schools.

Both of those campuses were consolidated after a facilities assessment study showed they were in poor or catastrophic condition.

“Three years ago, we asked voters to support our bold, ambitious, and aggressive plan to bring schools into the 21st century,” said Xavier De La Torre, Superintendent of Schools at Ysleta ISD.

“Voters agreed with us – and through our bond program, we have successfully upgraded, renovated, or constructed dozens of campuses, with more to come in the next year,” De La Torre added.

The decision to build a new $68.5 million Del Valle Middle School was made to ensure all Camino Real/Valley View Middle School students continue receiving a superior educational experience.

Del Valle Middle School was built to accommodate 1,500 students, and features about 200,000 square feet of cutting-edge design and function, with glass walls, furniture and technology that can be moved or rearranged from one lesson to the next, depending on instructional needs.

It has STEM labs with equipment and space to facilitate critical thinking, problem-solving, creativity, and technology. Fine arts classes features large windows that take full advantage of natural light and site views, while band, choir, and orchestra rooms are equipped with state-of-the-art acoustics.

January’s opening of Del Valle Middle School is only the first step toward the completion of one of the largest projects being funded by the YISD Bond 2015 program: an $87 million, 300,000-square-foot Mission Valley Elementary/Del Valle Middle K-8 combination school, featuring modern classrooms, state-of-the-art technology spaces, and new athletic facilities.

As part of the combination campus, Del Valle Middle School will share core spaces like the kitchen, library, fine arts, and STEM classes with Mission Valley Elementary School, which is scheduled to open later this year.

“This is exciting for Ysleta because it’s a one-of-a-kind school,” said Del Valle Middle Principal Ida Perales at the school’s Jan. 7 ribbon-cutting ceremony. “There is nothing like this in El Paso.” 

To prepare for the transition to the new Del Valle Middle School, multiple opportunities were provided as early as August to Camino Real and Valley View students and teachers to help them begin identifying themselves as one school community.

In addition, students participated in special transition activities at the new Del Valle Middle campus by grade level before the winter break in December, while school staff provided tours of the new campus on Jan. 5 for students and parents to familiarize themselves with the building before classes began.

 “I feel very privileged to be here,” said eighth-grader Anthony Jordan.

“I think it’s really nice that the students have a good place to learn – especially me,” Jordan added, laughing. “I like to learn, and it’s a better way to improve.”

The $430.5 million YISD bond was approved by voters in November 2015, and is being used to address aging campuses and school improvements, additional safety and security, and renovate/build new schools.

Already, bond funds have been used to upgrade The District’s technology, security, and athletic programs; build new cafeteria/kitchens, classroom wings, gymnasiums, and fine arts spaces at several campuses; perform an extensive renovation of the Eastwood High School campus; build the new Thomas Manor Elementary School and Bel Air Middle School campuses; and add a new sports complex at Bel Air High School, which is under construction.