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El Paso City Council votes to purchase Morehead Middle; will become emergency migrant shelter

EL PASO, Texas (KVIA) -- In a 5-0 vote, the El Paso City Council voted unanimously Monday morning to purchase the former Morehead Middle School in West El Paso.

El Paso Mayor Oscar Leeser explained one side of the school would be used for emergency sheltering for migrants, and the other side would be used for Animal Services. The mayor said both will be in entirely separate facilities.

The property is almost 19 acres and includes five buildings. The city will be purchasing the school from El Paso Independent School District for $3.8 million.

The mayor said the Animal Services' side will be paid for from the city budget. The emergency shelter side will be paid for using FEMA money.

"It will be no additional cost to the taxpayers, but it will be a huge incredible benefit as we do need to make sure we keep the streets safe," he said.

The mayor said his number one priority is the safety of the El Paso community. The mayor explained the school would eventually accommodate family units.

"Instead of using money on hotels, we'll have a facility that will be permanent for years to come. We have a responsibility not to vote for the current situation, but also look at the future of our community," Mayor Leeser said.

ABC-7 spoke to one woman who is opposed to migrants being housed at the school.

Olga Martinez said she worries migrants will wander around her neighborhood. She said she has several concerns.

“The safety for the kids and the staff from the school. And the people around the area. There’s a lot of elderly people that go outside walking by themselves kids especially the kids," she said.

Article Topic Follows: On the Border

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Rosemary Montañez

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