ECISD holds property unveiling for new facilities

Top ECISD officials, board and community members pose for a photo at the sign for the new middle school Tuesday. Back left: ECISD Board President Chris Stanley, Superintendent Scott Muri; front left: Associate Superintendent of Operations Anthony Sorola, Chief Financial Officer Deborah Ottmers, Associate Superintendent of Student and School Support Alicia Syverson and board member Tammy Hawkins. At right are Associate Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction Lilia Nanez, board member Dawn Miller, and Kevin and Sierra Searcy. (Ruth Campbell|Odessa American)

Future sites of a new middle school and career and technical education center financed with a $424,263,000 bond were revealed Tuesday as they are now officially Ector County ISD properties.

Signs with digital renderings were put up to mark the spot of the new facilities. The middle school will be located at South Tripp Avenue and Hutson Road in West Odessa and the career and technical education center will be at East Murphy Street just east of the intersection with Meadow Avenue.

Superintendent Scott Muri expressed gratitude to the community for supporting the bond.

“It’s a monumental day in ECISD,” Muri said.

He added that the process was a journey that started with a vision that began several years ago as the district thought about community needs. ECISD worked with a bond advisory committee to develop a bond package, educated the community and in November 2023, one of the three propositions passed.

On Aug. 15, 2023, the Ector County ISD Board of Trustees unanimously voted to place 3 school bond propositions on the ballot for Nov. 7, 2023. The total price of the 3 proposition was $436,109,000 and did not require an increase in the district’s total tax rate.

The items included in each proposition came as recommendations from the 2023 Bond Committee that worked from January to May developing this list, district information stated.

Proposition A for $424,263,000 was the one that passed. It includes the new career and technical education center; the new middle school; districtwide maintenance and repairs; bus purchases and a new transportation facility; technology updates; complete renovation of the Permian High School auditorium; compete replacement of the Transition Learning Center, a facility for students with special needs learning to transition from school to the workforce; complete replacement of classroom buildings and barns at the Agriculture Farm; LED lighting at the Odessa High School baseball and tennis stadiums; LED lighting at the Permian High School baseball stadium; resurfacing of tennis stadiums at all middle schools; replacement of indoor bleachers in main gyms of all middle schools; and purchasing land for the new middle school.

The land for the CTE center was donated by GROW Odessa.

Officials estimate the complete cost of building and outfitting the middle school with furniture, fixtures and equipment would be $120 million.

“Today is a huge step along that journey,” Muri said.

ECISD Superintendent Scott Muri talks about the property unveiling Tuesday in the board room of the administration building. He said this was a monumental day for the district. (Ruth Campbell|Odessa American)

He added that the community feedback has been incredibly positive.

“People are excited about what this means. I still think there was a little bit of skepticism; is this really going to happen? And so today is absolutely yes, they can drive by the facility. They can see that we own the property. There’s a rendering of what those facilities” will look like, Muri said.

Kevin Searcy, a member of the bond advisory committee, was on hand with his wife, Sierra. He said they were still working on the bond when they went to the middle school location to talk about it.

“It’s really interesting to see because we had a few people that had showed up and really supported the bond and got out on the west side to talk about it. One of the women that helped us just lives right around the corner. Now the location is right across the street from her and she’s got kids that were I think they were 3 or 4 at the time, so they’ll definitely get the benefit from this,” Searcy said.

He added that it still feels surreal because you can’t see the work, but he knows the square-footage, how many students will be served, how far Crockett Middle School is from it and it “starts to kind of feel like a reality now.”

There are homes right across the street from the middle school site.

“This area is about as underserved as it can be. You see the ECUD (Ector County Utility District) tower right there. You know some of the stories about that. You know some of the stories about ECISD’s poverty level. A good majority of that is in the west side and south side and this serves both. I think it’s a big deal for every person (out here),” Searcy said.

“It’s a centralized location. I know a lot of people were a little concerned that it was a little south, but south is growing, too. They have that opportunity coming right off the interstate. I think it serves a lot more people than most realize,” he added. “This is about as centralized as you can get for the amount of property that they needed.”

The middle school will serve a little more than 1,000 students in about 120,000 square feet.

“We own 42 acres of property right here and we’re excited to build. There will be homes created in the northern part of this property, so we’ll be surrounded by families. We’re excited to be within this community. We are scheduled to open in August of 2026. We have a lot of work to do between now and that time. (We’re) excited to engage our community as we continue to make plans for this exciting new middle school. Thank you to the voters in Ector County that made this day and this facility possible for the students in ECISD. We are incredibly grateful. For generations, students will be traveling through this drive entering this particular middle school,” Muri said.

Two ECISD maintenance workers put up a rendering of the new middle school at the site Tuesday to mark the spot where the new school will be. (Ruth Campbell|Odessa American)

The career and technical education center, estimated to cost $80 million, will have about 2,400 students going through it.

“Our career and technical education facility will be a game-changer for this entire community because not only will it serve high school students, at night and on the weekends, Odessa College will occupy that space so it will serve for upskilling and reskilling purposes, the adults in this community so it’s a game-changing facility,” Muri said.

Muri said the students deserve state-of-the-art facilities.

“They deserve to have access to the latest and greatest, if you will, and the new career and technical education facility, as an example, will provide our students and members of our community with state-of-the-art access to facilities, to equipment that will truly prepare them for the world of work and beyond. It’s a monumental day in ECISD,” Muri said.

With the new middle school, at some point in the future, they will be reassigning teachers, but Muri noted that the district is growing so it will continue to add staff members.

“The new career and technical education facility will be similar. We will take programming that currently exists in one location and move it to the CTE center. We’ll be adding some new programming, as well. In that case, we would certainly be hiring some new experts to teach those new programs and courses,” Muri said.

The district doesn’t know yet what they will do with the Frost Building that currently houses several career and technical programs.

“Part of the process over the next couple of years will be to figure out how we will use facilities that we may end up vacating, but no plans yet,” Muri said.

ECISD hopes to open the new middle school to serve students in August 2026, so plans would be to have the groundbreaking in January 2025.

The career and technical education facility groundbreaking would also be in January 2025 with plans to finish it in two years.

“But we’ll see … because there could always be construction delays and things like that, but that’s what we’re planning right now,” Muri said.