Uvalde Elementary School groundbreaking evokes mixed emotions for grieving parents

Uvalde Community Breaks Ground on New Elementary School Campus
Uvalde, Texas – In a significant milestone for the Uvalde community, a groundbreaking ceremony was held on Saturday to mark the construction of a new elementary school campus that will eventually replace Robb Elementary. The Uvalde Moving Forward Foundation, a non-profit organization that has spearheaded the planning and fundraising efforts for the new school, aims to begin construction next month.

For parents who tragically lost their children in the Robb Elementary shooting in May of last year, the groundbreaking event was a bittersweet experience, simultaneously stirring painful memories while also offering a glimmer of hope for the future. The new campus, with an estimated cost of $60 million, will incorporate safety features that surpass state requirements. These features include 9-foot-tall privacy gates, keyless entry points, and a dedicated road to provide easier access for emergency responders. Additionally, the campus will boast an air-conditioned gym and two playgrounds, one of which will cater to children with special needs.

The Uvalde Moving Forward Foundation has managed to secure $10 million in funding from H-E-B and the Butt family, as well as an additional $35 million from other sources. However, the foundation is still actively seeking around $15 million to complete the funding. Tim Miller, the Executive Director of the foundation, emphasized the importance of incorporating input from Uvalde families, particularly those who have lost children, in the planning process.

Miller expressed his hope that the new school will serve as a symbol of resilience and hope, aiding in the community’s healing process following the tragedy. However, some parents voiced the ongoing pain they continue to endure on a daily basis. Jerry Mata, who lost his daughter in the shooting, acknowledged the positive impact of the new campus but acknowledged the lingering pain associated with the loss. Mata highlighted the importance of remembering the children and teachers while acknowledging the emotional intensity of the groundbreaking event.

Ana Coronado, another parent who lost her daughter, echoed Mata’s sentiments, describing the event as emotionally challenging. Although she acknowledged the positive impact the new school will have on other students’ education, she expressed sadness that her own daughter would not have the opportunity to enjoy the new facility. Coronado believes that her daughter’s memory will live on through the new school and its contribution to future students’ education.

Natalie Arias, Co-Chair of the UCISD Community Advisory Committee, emphasized the importance of respecting the wishes of the affected families and ensuring that decisions regarding the new school do not cause further harm. Arias acknowledged the potential for the school to serve as a positive step forward for a community grappling with tragedy. She expressed hope that the community would recognize the deserving nature of the students and the beauty and progress represented by the new school.

Looking ahead, the Uvalde CISD school will establish a committee consisting of teachers and parents to recommend a name for the new school. This collaborative effort ensures that the school’s identity reflects the desires and aspirations of the community it will serve. As Uvalde embarks on this transformative project, the community remains united in its commitment to honoring the past while embracing a brighter future.

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