Board members at Rupp Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, are set to vote on a $60 million design for their new school nearly a year after a shooting killed 19 children and two teachers.
A Texas architecture firm based in Fort Worth has been working closely with the community for the past seven months with the final approval Monday night — and it’s set to include enhanced safety features like ballistic glazing.
Chris Huckabee, CEO of the architecture firm that donated its professional services, explained how the designers wanted to allow time for the community to recover somewhat before giving them the opportunity to help provide input into the design of the new building.
“We felt that it needed to be very deliberate and that we needed to take the time that the community needs to recover through this process,” he said. NBC Dallas.
“This has been a very difficult project, and the way we see it, this is part of their collective recovery,” said Huckabee.
US and Texas flags fly high above the entrance to the new Yovalde Elementary School
Members of the Uvalde, Texas school board are set to vote to approve a new campus design to replace Rupp Elementary School nearly one year after the school shooting. Pictured is an inner courtyard
A Fort Worth architecture firm has been working with the community for the past seven months with the final step now requiring school board approval. In the photo, learning stairs
The new school will cost $60 million and include improved security features; It is expected to be completed within 18 months. An illustrated academic collaboration space
Chris Huckabee, CEO of the architecture firm that came up with the designs for the new school, in conjunction with the community
The Uvalde Moving Forward Foundation will oversee the project, which is expected to be completed within 18 months.
The nonprofit will own the new school before donating it to the district.
Huckabee’s team has made several calls and pitches to secure funding and is still seeking to raise an additional $10 million.
What I am most proud of is that I did not make a call regarding the construction of a new school for the Uvalde community and have been refused.
“Every single person I’ve contacted and asked for help has said, yes, they wholeheartedly agreed to help,” he explained.
“What we’ve done around the state and said, ‘This is where we are and what we’re doing,'” Huckabee said.
We have asked communities to step up efforts. Afterwards the community of Fort Worth humiliated me with the sum of money raised here and at Fort Worth. But Dallas has skyrocketed, and really all over Texas.
But I was very proud of the DFW area and the dollars raised. We need to raise about 10 million more. I feel like we’re going to get there. And I hope a few more generous owners step forward so we can see this in action.
Everything was chosen by the community including the colors and the carpets. Pictured is the library
The animation was released last week letting the community know what the school will look like for 2nd, 3rd, and 4th graders when it is finally built. Pictured is a gymnasium
The exterior view shows what the primary school looks like from the outside. In the photo, a view of the teaching wing of the school
The new school will include enhanced security features such as ballistic glazing and a card entry system.
There is a lot of ballistic glass in this building. There’s a lot of card access and entries and things like that. You can appreciate, there was a lot of care taken in security around this building. “And we have a security expert who was integral to the design to review everything in the building,” Huckabee said.
“Everything that can be in today’s modern building with cameras, security access and locked lobbies; Everything you want in a building today is definitely in this building but those things are very typical in a modern school today.
The design also includes a poignant tribute to the lives lost in the shooting, with a symbolic tree that has two large branches representing the two teachers who lost their lives and 19 smaller branches representing the young children who were all victims of the May 24, 2022 mass shooting.
The design also includes a poignant tribute to the lives lost in the May 2022 shooting. Pictured is the school’s main entrance.
Construction could begin in July with the school set to open in January 2025. Pictured is the cafeteria
There will be plenty of enhanced security features including bulletproof glass and key card entry systems. In the photo, one of the corridors of the school
The animation was released last week letting the community know what the school will look like for 2nd, 3rd, and 4th graders when it is finally built.
Huckabee explained how there were also many subtle roads throughout the building that honor the victims and their families all who are consulted along the way.
With our team, the goal was to make this a community school. It wasn’t about strangers coming to Uvald and telling them what to get. Huckabee said it was about taking our time and listening and making sure that the families of the victims, the survivors, the community at large and certainly the school district directed the process.
A memorial is seen surrounding the Rupp Elementary School sign after the mass shooting at Rupp Elementary School on May 26, 2022 in Uvalde, Texas.
Crosses have been erected to honor those who lost their lives during the Rupp Elementary School shooting
19 students and 2 adults were killed in a mass shooting on May 24, 2022
“There are a lot of ways in the building that identify the victims in some very subtle ways and some not-so-subtle ways through the building that has been channeled by family agreements.”
Huckabee said the project was challenging as his team found it the most difficult task they had ever undertaken.
Huckabee says the project is a reflection of the needs and desires of the community with the design developed as the new school for the community while keeping in mind the heritage and values of Uvalde.
Huckabee hopes the community will embrace the community and become a place where students feel comfortable and safe.
Once the Uvalde School Board votes on the design on Monday night, the project will then go out to tender for bids before construction begins in July.
If all goes as planned, the building will be open to pupils from January 2025.