Process to replace Fort Bliss's Logan Elementary set to start

By ALEX HINOJOSA | El Paso Times, Texas | Published: February 3, 2013

The $13.3 million process of rebuilding and expanding Logan Elementary School, an aging campus on Fort Bliss that the Department of Defense wants improved, will begin this month.

In late January, the El Paso Independent School District advertised a request for contract bids for the reconstruction of the school. The deadline for bids is Feb. 15.

According to a U.S. Department of Defense study, released in September 2011, Logan Elementary was the third-worst school out of 160 schools on a military installation. The report said the school was in dire need of renovations to accommodate students in the 21st century.

The report said the school's building needed repairs, was overcrowded and did not meet military base anti-terrorism standards. Although the school needs repairs, district officials have maintained that the quality of education did not falter and that the federal report never questioned it.

As a result of the report, the Department of Defense allotted $13.3 million to the district specifically for the construction of the new school and demolition in phases of the original building. About $3.3 million in 2007 bond money will also be provided for the project by the EPISD.

Construction of the new elementary school is expected to begin in mid-April and be completed by fall 2014.

"It's great news for us to meet all the challenges of the 21st century," said Jean Offutt, spokeswoman for the post. "I know that the students

will be very happy to have these great things available to them. And we're very glad about the reconstruction."

While the school has been maintained over the years, it was the expansion of Fort Bliss and the increasing number of military families that deemed the campus unfit to accommodate future students, said Nick Corona, EPISD's executive director of facilities, maintenance and construction. The school, built in the 1960s, has 38 classrooms, including a 12-classroom wing built in 1991.

With about 620 students enrolled at the school, the count is nearing the campus capacity of 646.

The Army post is now in its second phase of building 1,066 homes, which include duplexes and four-plexes, because of the growth.

Because of the anticipated growth, Corona said, the new campus, which will be built south of the current school, will have 48 classrooms, increasing the school's capacity from 646 to about 800; a multipurpose classroom; refrigerated air conditioning; two playground structures and the latest amenities in technology.

Offutt said the Army post will work closely with the district to ensure that the school meets anti-terrorism standards.

However, officials with Fort Bliss would not go into details about what measures would be taken.

Corona said that once a contractor is selected, the bid will be taken to the EPISD Board of Trustees for approval during its March 12 meeting.

The rebuilding of the campus will be done in phases, allowing the students to remain on campus, Corona said.

Alex Hinojosa may be reached at ahinojosa@elpasotimes.com.


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