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Socorro ISD chooses firm for facility, demographics study

The county’s second largest school district is one step closer to evaluating its schools and demographics. The Socorro Independent School District is the fourth to do so in just two years.

SISD’s schools are pretty new compared to the Ysleta and El Paso school districts. But it wants to hire an engineering firm to stay on top of repairs and to study its growing student population. The board believes it has found the right company to do the job, VLK Architects.

SISD’s Chief Operations Office Tom Eyeington told the board he found five companies who’d be willing to do a facilities and demographics study.

“VLK Architects is number one,” Eyeington said.

VLK Architects is the same Texas-base firm the Ysleta school district hired to manage projects of its $430.5 million bond. Over the next 5-6 years, YISD taxpayers will shell out just $9.8 million to pay them.

“They really extended themselves,” said YISD Superintendent Xavier De La Torre. “They provided us, we thought, with great information that when coupled with the Jacobs Report, gave us a very high level of confidence on their ability to deliver.”

The Jacobs Engineering Group is a global company, generating its first billion over 20 years ago. Jacobs was SISD’s third choice.
Canutillo ISD paid the firm $398,922 to study its facilities, YISD paid them $623,958, and EPISD paid $1.147 million.

They were the group who discovered El Paso ISD’s shrinking student population that would lead to the loss of 5,000 students in five years and $30 million in funding every year. These districts could have chose local firms but didn’t.

“The architects in the area have to make the decision as to whether or not their going to manage the bond program or whether or not they want to bid on projects within that bond, because they can’t do both,” De La Torre said. “Architectural firms here locally want to compete for the projects.”

Right now SISD will begin negotiating a price with VLK Architects. They expect to have that complete by early next year.

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