City moves to designate Houston schoo...

City moves to designate Houston school historic site

There are 23 comments on the El Paso Times story from Jul 27, 2010, titled City moves to designate Houston school historic site. In it, El Paso Times reports that:

The City Council on Tuesday started the process of declaring Houston Elementary School a historic building, setting in place a political battle over the future of the Five Points landmark.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at El Paso Times.

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Austin, TX

#2 Jul 27, 2010
instead of fighting for a useless school why dont they fight to give our police and firefighter their raise and stop telling the school district what to do

Since: Jul 10

United States

#3 Jul 28, 2010
I have no idea who the city thinks this benefits. Yes the building is old, but really time to move on. It really is not that significant like El Paso High or Ysleta. All they are doing is costing taxpayer money and butting into business they should not be.
Bobby Bag O Donuts

El Paso, TX

#4 Jul 28, 2010
The whole point of it being the El Paso INDEPENDENT School District is that they answer to no one but the people and voters of the district. Not the federal government, not the State of Texas, not the County or City of El Paso and certainly not to Susie Byrd and her meddling Progressive-Preservationist.

When people in government think they know what's good for you and aim to force it down your throat, it's time to rebel against that government.

Police and Firefighters are being asked to give up their just raises, while Joyce Wilson destroys our city treasury, and Byrd and her delusional Progressive ilk interfere in areas well outside their jurisdiction and attack small business. Do your jobs or be replaced.
Natasha- Deep cover agent

El Paso, TX

#5 Jul 28, 2010
You americans I can't figure you out! You wouldn't keep a neighborhood school open, even though it has an impact on hundreds of families. But when you
close it and scatter the excellent teaching staff over the four winds, than you decide the building in important!! What insanity, what priorities! I suppose now you'll renovate the building and turn it into an office complex! Renovations that the teaching staff begged for for the sake of the children.

United States

#6 Jul 28, 2010
From the article:

"....Selling the building is an option, but not one that would be available if the historic overlay is approved since we know that buyers won't be as interested in the building if that comes through."

Does Superintendent Garcia have an education? He appears to be ignorant in the extreme with a statement like this. Preserving historic structures for adaptive reuse is happening all across the world. An interesting and unusual historic structure has selling points that modern ones do not possess. For Garcia to state that no one would but the school if it is placed in an overlay district is simply wrong on many points. It could be made into condos, city libraries, offices, shops-any number of commercial and residential uses that would be attractive specifically because the building is historic. Is this the same guy who holds rallies for the press so that he can avoid having students adhere to state testing rules? Surely, surely, El Paso can achieve a more successful candidate as a government and education leader. This is truly getting embarrassing.

El Paso, TX

#7 Jul 28, 2010
The City does not own the school nor the property it sits on. Though the city has jurisdiction when it comes to historic designation. Stuff like this should go on a ballot and let the voters decide.

I don't see or hear residents advocating for the historic designation in large numbers. Why did Manhattan Heights Neighborhood omit the school from its boundary? A majority of the residents in the 5 Points area are apathetic and aloof. It just does not seem that the residents in this area care if the school is historic or not. That's just a perception.

Susie Byrd has the right idea. But she needs to learn when to back off. If her political career is ending she should not spend time doing things that might cost taxpayers to fit the bill.

Is it Susie's hope that the city will one day buy the building and turn it into a public use? Or hope that a developer would convert the building into a cool multi-family housing structure.

I think Susie needs to bring in other partners who can help her convince us this is a good idea. Get it designated, have a buyer, provide a concept and design and build it. Until those things are in place, I don't think the city has any business designating buildings that another taxing entity can use as an asset.
Enough already

El Paso, TX

#8 Jul 28, 2010
really001 wrote:
I have no idea who the city thinks this benefits. Yes the building is old, but really time to move on. It really is not that significant like El Paso High or Ysleta. All they are doing is costing taxpayer money and butting into business they should not be.
If the city does truly want this building as an historical asset. The school district should be given the option to sell the building to the city. They have already decided it needs to be closed as a school and it costs too much to maintain.
I say go for it city of El Paso! Get Dr Garcia out of the hole! He needs to clear his debts and be fiscally free.

El Paso, TX

#9 Jul 28, 2010
What's up with the politics? THe city is being very passive aggressive. THey did not want the TRE but when it failed then they try to stop a sale of building. Houston school was once a hospital and county building, it was the morgue also. Is it Historical or hysterical?
back to basics

El Paso, TX

#10 Jul 28, 2010
As an effected tax-payer, I view this process as null and void. My assessment stems from the fact that my share of taxes that goes to EPISD to help pay for this school, will go to the City of El Paso in the future if they take the school over. It will improve the EPISD's budget, but it will impact the City's budget. Will the EPISD lower taxes since it doesn't have the school? No. In fact they want raise the EPISD tax rate. At the City, the initial cost to repair the building will impact City taxes. However, the City's Economic Development engine can take over. You see, this sight can be used for numerous things. Stormwater detention under the parking lot and a new park. The building could be used for a community and recreation center. They could house the Police Department Headquarters there. They could develop very nice lower-income housing. They could develop a retirement community right smack in the center of the City. Face it, with all of the aging Baby Boomers, we're going to have to find some place to house these folks in order to provide the care they need. A school is not a good idea. It doesn't have the number of kids it needs. I winder if the EPISD looked at an option to make this an Art Magnet School, with the views it has, it would inspire a lot of creative minds. Therefore, I'm for this action.
back to basics

El Paso, TX

#11 Jul 28, 2010
If the school site become a Police Dept. function or community center, the City might have to rework the streets to make it more accessible. The City might also consider this a future transit station for rapid transit, it's in a nice central location. Somehow, develop a transfer system to connect to 5-points, where the NE could transfer west from the Houston Station and the they could transfer east from the 5-points station.

El Paso, TX

#12 Jul 28, 2010
Come one Susie, what did you do to get the TRE passed? Well, EPISD is not in the position to add more costs to their budget. Sell the school. Move on.

El Paso, TX

#14 Jul 28, 2010
What? Someone in the city actually cares about the historic buildings in El Paso? That's odd....
Remember the beautiful Carnegie Library in El Paso? No? That's because it was torn down to make way for the current ugly El Paso Library!
Beautiful building left for decay, then replaced with ugly buildings. See the eye sore building that the El Paso Real Estate Association occupies. Horrible.

Anyway, Houston Elementary can be converted to something useful to help the community.

El Paso, TX

#15 Jul 28, 2010
If this building is not to be considered a SCHOOL, shouldn't the taxes involved be lowered for the citizens who live about the area? Since there is supposenly a shortage of apartments in EP, would it be a good idea to either level the building and make use of the land or update it for apartments or lease office spaces?

El Paso, TX

#16 Jul 28, 2010
The city is essentially taking the properties away from the school district. Wasn't EPISD going to use the Alamo site for a new campus?
It will take a lot of money to renovate either building. The city is getting involved in things that it should stay out of. Then the city needs to buy both locations from the district or do a land swap.
Rich Nixon

Hamilton, OH

#17 Jul 28, 2010
Funding and salaries tied to performance, and national standards to get on par with global competitors, are long overdue. Research now in on charters exposes them as the non-solution they are. They do not produce any better result than public schools, only drain funds from them -- a cool site; Balkingpoints ; incredible satellite view of earth

El Paso, TX

#18 Jul 28, 2010
stop smoking pot at city hall! try to make good decisons for the community. forcing episd to rennovate those buildings when the city knows the district has no money is lousy politics.

El Paso, TX

#19 Jul 28, 2010
It's understandable that some people may be nostalgic about the elementary schools they attended, but trying to garner their votes by trying to save their schools through the dubious use of designating them historic landmarks, particularly when another political entity has determined there is another use for them, is not sensible. Alamo School has not been found to have any historic architectural value and is rat-infested. I can't imagine who would purchase Houston School from EPISD if it was designated historic. The closure of Houston is to realize cost-savings, which the voters have requested. People should be looking at the development of green buildings, like the new Cielo Vista Library. Suzy, the people who wanted to keep Houston open had 3 years of discussions with EPISD. If that's not adequate time to discuss the issue, I don't know what is.


#20 Jul 28, 2010
Byrd ADMITTED in her statement that this action was politically motivated.

Another example of city council members being more concerned with building legacies and monuments to themselves.
Poser Blaster

El Paso, TX

#21 Jul 28, 2010
Just because the city WANTS to designate it as a historical site doesn't mean EPISD has to use it, does it? If the city (with all their excess money) wants to take it off the hands of the school district, to save it's lovely historical significance, I'm sure a financial arrangement can be negotiated.(LOL)

Since: Jul 10

El Paso, TX

#22 Jul 29, 2010
I think what happens is that changes to the building have to be approved. At Ysleta High School when they replaced the windows this year, they had to be exactly the same. It takes a lot of money. To replace the wooden doors at Austin took tens of thousands of dollars just for 6 doors. Houston is not worth it. There is a point where it is cheaper to put a new building than renovate. Houston is way past that point.

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