Amid much fanfare and celebration, Ysleta ISD trustees and Superintendent Dr. Xavier De La Torre marked the official opening of the newly constructed Mission Valley Elementary School (MVES) with a ribbon-cutting ceremony March 27, just two days after classes resumed following the Spring Break vacation.

But the opening of MVES, however, also marked the completion of a much larger, long-awaited project in the Del Valle Learning Community: the construction of the 300,000-square foot Mission Valley Elementary/Del Valle Middle School, a combination school now serving students in grades K-8.

Originally slated to open in August 2019, the $87-million K-8 combo school was completed far ahead of schedule.

While the 1,500-student Del Valle Middle School opened for classes in January, YISD waited until mid-March to officially unveil to students the 100,000-square foot Mission Valley campus, which features modern classrooms, collaborative science laboratories, student lounges and life skills suites.

“When I saw the furniture, the carpet, everything – I was amazed. And as soon as I went to the classroom, everything was nice,” said Mission Valley Elementary School fifth-grader Juan Pablo Chavarria, who served as a student emcee during the ribbon-cutting.

“I believe there is a lot of pride with the students, with the school, with everything in this place,” Chavarria added. “If I was going to be grading (the quality of the new school), I would give it a 200 percent!”

As a combo school, Del Valle Middle and Mission Valley now share core spaces as well, such as the kitchen, library, fine arts, and STEM classes.

“This facility is an attempt to emulate what student will experience when they leave the Ysleta Independent School District and get out into the real world,” De La Torre said.

“It compels teachers and students to come together and learn together. It allows us to tailor their learning experience, and it provides for blended learning and active learning activities,” De La Torre added. “It just offers all of the amenities that our students will need to be successful in life.”

The Mission Valley Elementary/Del Valle Middle K-8 combo school is among the largest projects being funded by YISD’s 2015 voter-approved $430.5 million facilities bond.

In the shadow of its centennial celebration in 2015, YISD asked voters to support its ambitious promise to transform the district into a beacon of 21st-century learning by approving its facilities bond referendum. Voters agreed – and within weeks of the bond’s passage, work began in earnest to upgrade, renovate, expand or construct modern schools and facilities in all seven YISD Learning Communities.

Just over three years later, the YISD Bond 2015 Program is nearly completed – more than 85 percent is under construction, and more than half of the projects have been completed.

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; and build the new Thomas Manor Elementary School and Bel Air Middle School campuses.

In addition, a new, comprehensive sports complex is currently being constructed at Bel Air High School, and a new Fine Arts Center is being built at Ysleta High School. All bond projects should be completed by the fall of 2020.