Students find new home in fine arts building



El Paso High School opened its doors to the fine arts building in the spring of the 2021-22 school year.

Fernanda Pineda, Isabel Gaytan, and James Locke

The new school year also meant students at El Paso High would finally fill the halls of the recently opened fine arts building that took nearly half a decade to complete.

The community has had an overall positive response to the newly opened building. 

“I think it was money well spent. The money put into this, the look, the ambiance, everything is just flowing,” art teacher, Elijah Escobar said.

El Paso High received nearly $19.5 million from the 2016 EPISD Modernization Bond, used to renovate parts of the main campus along with the construction of the new building.

“I was excited to see that the bond money was being put into action and excited for a new facility to stimulate creativity,” Mr. Escobar said.

Students in Mr.Escobar’s 7th period art class work on their assignments. (Fernanda Pineda)

The building’s architecture is noticeably different from the surrounding campus, but some students enjoy the modern architecture of the building.

“The new building really stands out from the rest of the school because you can really tell that it’s modern while the rest of the school is rustic,” Iker Perez, drum major for the El Paso High band, said.

A particular detail of the building would be its large windows with views to the Franklin Mountains on the north side and downtown El Paso on the south side.

“The big windows are really nice. All the daylight comes in,” drum major, Mya Rodriguez said.

The views from the school itself had already been considered stunning, but with the addition of the new windows the views had become even better.

“The views alone from El Paso High are great and the views out of these huge glass windows are breathtaking. You’ve got the landscape and mountains on one side and downtown on the other that overlooks the field,” Mr. Escobar said.

The new building has provided the school’s fine arts programs with additional space. Among the new classes that have moved to the building are choir, art, band, orchestra, health, guitar, piano, and music media. 

The band specifically has benefitted from the new space that they’ve been provided. The school’s band had originally been practicing on the first floor of the school’s main building. The original room has been described as “cramped or uncomfortable,” compared to the new room that the band is currently practicing in.

“We had to cram a 60-plus person organization, the band, into a classroom that was smaller than most classrooms at the school,” Mya said.

The addition of the new room was a huge relief for the school’s band. 

“Getting our own space was super helpful and it’s been really useful this entire time,” Mya said.

Mr. Rangel’s 7th period orchestra class practicing in the new fine arts building, a contrast from previously limited space in the main building as they waited for the completion of the new facility. (Fernanda Pineda)

Another benefit of the building was that it provided the different fine arts programs a chance to easily interact with each other. 

“I really like being around other fine arts programs and really seeing what we can collaborate on, and it’s more readily available to reach out to them,” Iker said.

The school’s fine arts programs happily received the building as a sign that the school cared for their access to materials, success, and growth. 

Although the distance from the main school to the fine arts building is a long one, the students are not inconvenienced.

“It’s just moving back and forth. People have moved to portables. It’s kind of the same,” Mya said.

The building was received with optimism and delight as it provides the school with new opportunities.

“We’re very proud of our new fine arts building, it’s been a long time in the making, and I just couldn’t have been happier to be here,” Choir and Guitar director, Nick Hirsch said.  “I’m happy for our kids too because I can sense that they’re proud of it and they feel like they have a place that’s like the home base for all the fine arts programs.”