Structural issues going on at Alicia R. Chacon International School in east El Paso has closed two classrooms in the past year after cracks appeared in the walls. Now the 24-year-old school is starting to see another crack show up.
Concerned parents made their voices heard at the Ysleta Independent School District board meeting last week. “District staff has known about the building’s structural damage since January 2019, and they have informed us that the building was cracking and sinking at a faster rate than anyone expected,” says Sylvia Ibarra, who has children going to the school. “We know that there is of course cost and money, and we realize it’s not an easy situation, but we urge you to give this priority and take decisive action.”
Parents say adequate air conditioning and a leaky roof were already a concern before the cracks started showing up. School officials agree the lack of refrigerated air has been a problem, and safety for the 800 students on the campus is their biggest priority. District officials say there are several options the district is considering. “If we determine the best resolution is to leave those students at the campus because the structural issues have been remedied, then we can go ahead and put perhaps we hope refrigerated air on that campus,” said the chief financial officer for the YISD district, Lynly Leeper.
The school was on schedule to receive repairs and upgrades before the structural problems appeared. Leeper says the nearly 400 thousand dollars slated for improvements to the roof and HVAC work is still set aside while engineers inspect the foundation. District officials say they will be in constant contact with parents, letting them know updates on a bi-weekly basis. The decision to repair the damage, or move locations entirely is still up in the air, but the district says a final answer will be given by February of next year.