Uvalde CISD discusses new elementary school

Construction is projected to be completed in late October 2024.

UVALDE – Class in Uvalde has been back in session for nearly two weeks now.

Monday evening, the school board met for their monthly meeting; the beginning of the meeting began with a heated open forum and calls for accountability.

“Our babies died, they were massacred, and y’all still let those same SOBs walk around that didn’t do anything,” said the guardian of Uziyah Garcia, Brett Cross.

Echoes of continued pain at Monday’s board meeting were shared by the families of the Robb Elementary shooting victims.

Brett Cross and Berlinda Arreola called on the UCISD school board to investigate all police officers within the school to better protect current students.

”I keep telling yall, this is like the 3rd or 4th time I keep coming and telling yall about the security. And all I hear is we’ll look into it, we’ll make sure, we’ll look into it,” Berlinda Arreola, Amerie Jo Garza’s grandma, said. “When are y’all going to look into it? When it happens again?”

After the open forum, the focus shifted toward the future.

Huckabee, a Texas architecture firm focused on designing schools, presented a plan to build a new elementary school in Uvalde.

“Making sure that we understand what the communities expectations and goals are for this project to make sure that we encompass that in the design,” Kerri Brady, Vice President of Educational Practice at Huckabee, said.

Kerri Brady and Jeff Rodriguez presented three site options for the new campus and laid out the timeline for the project.

There will be a community advisory committee that’ll be made up of school officials, teachers, parents, a Uvalde Police Department representative, and business owners.

Brady and Rodriguez estimate construction will be done in October of 2024.

“At that phase, the school could then be furnished with FF and E’s, furniture fixtures, and equipment, and then we could then determine when the first day of school will be,” said Huckabee Principal Jeff Rodriguez.

Monday, the school board accepted a series of donations by other schools and organizations to help with a variety of projects, including new playground equipment.

The discussion fell on Layla Salazar’s and Jamilah Silguero’s birthdays, two of the children killed at Robb Elementary. They were not brought up by board members, even during the donation acceptance.

The lack of mention irritated Jesse Rizo, Jackie Cazares’ uncle.

“I believe the donations were appreciated by the school board, and we appreciate it as a community; we appreciate the generosity by the different organizations,” Rizo said. “Let’s not forget the reason that we got the donations, we have 21 people that are at the cemetery, and it’s on their backs. That’s why we received that. It’s unfortunate, it’s a shame that that’s what it came down to. But I think we need to use a little more professionalism when we accept these donations.”

The board met behind closed doors to discuss personnel matters; when they reconvened, no action was taken, and no further details were shared.

About the Authors:

Leigh Waldman is a news reporter at KSAT 12. She joined the station in 2021. Leigh comes to San Antonio from the Midwest after spending time at a station in Omaha, NE. After two winters there, she knew it was time to come home to Texas. When Leigh is not at work, she enjoys eating, playing with her dogs and spending time with family.

Gavin Nesbitt is a photojournalist and video editor who joined KSAT in September 2021. He has traveled across the great state of Texas to film, conduct interviews and edit many major news stories, including the White Settlement church shooting, Hurricane Hanna, 2020 presidential campaigns, Texas border coverage and the Spurs.