Link to Houston ISD M/WBE blog post

ERO featured in Houston ISD’s M/WBE Snapshot

ERO Architects is proud to be a 100% minority-owned Texas business. ERO is designing two new 2012 bond 21st century high schools with a combined construction budget of over $100 million. This profile is part of a series on minority- or women-owned business enterprises (M/WBEs) that do business with Houston ISD. Click here to read more.

 

 

 

 

Save the date-2015 TASA/TASB Convention

Save the date for our 2015 TASA/TASB Evening Reception!

On Friday, October 2, 9pm, ERO Architects and the Mexican Association School Board Association (MASBA) will host its annual ERO/MASBA TASA/TASB Evening Reception celebrating Hispanic Heritage month. ERO invites all attending school board members and superintendents to this special event at the Hilton Austin, Ballroom J. For more information, please call ERO Architects Marketing Director Feliz Garcia at (956) 661-0400.

Click the image to the right or here to view the flyer.

 

 

 

Save the date-2015 Beach Party

Save the date for the 8th Annual ERO - ROSBA- MASBA Beach PARTY

Save the date! On Saturday, May 16, ERO Architects will host the 8th Annual ERO-ROSBA-MASBA Beach Party. The event follows the Region One Spring School Board Conference at South Padre Island. ERO Architects invites all school board members and superintendents to the festivities, which begin at 7 p.m. at the Hilton Garden Inn Deck. ERO Architects has partnered with several local companies to make this event happen and to recognize the outstanding work of the Region One School Board Association (ROSBA), Region One Education Service Center and the Mexican-American School Board Members Association (MASBA). For more information, please call ERO Architects Marketing Director Elizabeth C. Martinez at (956) 661-0400.

Click the image to the right or here to view the flyer.

 

 

 

McAllen PAC concept render

2014 TASA/TASB Photo Gallery

ERO had the great fortune of meeting school board members from around the state at the 2014 TASA/TASB Convention in Dallas. We learned that many district’s are concerned about their aging facilities and are interested in identifying innovative solutions that create new learning centers designed for digital students who require 21st century skill set development to better compete.

Click the image to the right or here to view the article.

 

 

 

McAllen PAC concept render

Groundbreaking of New Performing Arts Center at Robert Vela High School

(McAllen, Texas - July 30, 2014) The newest project at Edinburg Consolidated Independent School District was marked official by the groundbreaking of Robert Vela High School’s performing arts center. On May 22, ECISD, ERO Architects of McAllen and SpawGlass representatives took part in the ceremony, as well as local officials.

Located at 801 E. Canton Rd., the 19,709-square-foot facility will boast a 361-seat theatre, classroom space, dressing rooms and design shop. According to ERO Architects Project Manager Ismael Adame, the project is estimated to cost $7 million and is expected to be complete by January 2015.

“We are pleased to continue serving the Edinburg school district by bringing our fourth performing arts center here to the community. This new facility is state-of-the-art and will enhance student achievement and give them a learning environment comparable to what you would see at universities,” said Adame.

The theatre features modern technology including theatrical lighting, an intuitive intercommunication system, powerful rigging and effects speakers located around the theatre to provide ambient noise for dramatic performances. Combined, the innovative systems are similar to those used in a professional theatre, and will transform the students’ performances into a fully-immersive 21st century learning experience.

The Robert Vela High School Performing Arts Center is preceded by the Ciro L. Trevino Performing Arts Center at Edinburg High School, the Pat McNallen Performing Arts Center at Edinburg North High School and the Alberto Garza, Jr. Performing Arts Center at Johnny Economedes High School. The previous centers were simultaneously designed by ERO and constructed between October 2009–November 2010 through Infrastructure Facility Allotment funding from the State of Texas. The district was eligible for funding because each performing arts center was also multiple learning environments for students and teachers.

 

 

 

McAllen PAC concept render

Learning Spaces for Severe Climate

ERO was featured in the July August 2014 issue of Green Building and Design magazine.

Click the image to the right or here to view the article.

 

 

 

McAllen PAC concept render

ERO breaks ground on new McAllen Performing Arts Center

(McALLEN, Texas - July 24, 2014) A groundbreaking ceremony for the new McAllen Performing Arts Center designed by ERO Architects in collaboration with Holzman Moss Bottino, was held on July 24. McAllen Mayor Jim Darling and the City Commission broke ground on the new $45 million facility, which will be the most advanced performing arts center south of San Antonio.

Opening in the Fall of 2016, the approximately 1,800-seat theater, located adjacent to the McAllen Convention Center will offer world-class performances and a wider variety of entertainment that has never before been possible in South Texas.

The 93,471-square-foot facility will feature state-of-the-art technology in acoustics, audio, lighting and stage support. The lobby will feature a monumental staircase with views overlooking the McAllen Convention Center’s Oval Park. The building will incorporate adjustable acoustics to accommodate popular music to symphonic orchestra; and a robust acoustical shell with a celestial ceiling. The building will feature four levels of seating: 465 seats in the orchestra level, 595 seats in the parterre level, 430 seats in the first balcony level and 310 seats in the upper balcony.

“The new performing arts center will be a remarkable facility,” said Eli Ochoa. “The designers collaborated with the City of McAllen to create a dynamic venue that represents the culture and community.”

 

 

 

McAllen PAC concept render

McAllen Commission Approves $44.9 Million Price Tag for New Theater

News about the new McAllen Performing Arts Center by ERO Architects was featured in The Monitor. Click here to read the article.

 

 

 

2014 ERO All-Star After Party Flyer

ERO Architects Presents the 7th Annual Region One - MASBA After Party

To conclude Region One’s Spring School Board Conference, ERO Architects will host the 7th Annual Region One - MASBA After Party on Saturday, May 17 at Doubleday Sports Bar of Champions in Port Isabel. ERO Architects invites all school board members and superintendents to the festivities, which begin at 6 p.m. ERO Architects has partnered with several local companies to make this event happen and to recognize the outstanding work of the school board members of Region One and the Mexican-American School Board Members Association (MASBA). There will be Texas BBQ, drinks, games and music!

For more information, please call ERO Architects Marketing Director Elizabeth C. Martinez at (956) 661-0400.

Click image at right or here to download the flyer.

 

 

 

New Hidalgo County Courthouse Concept Render

New County Courthouse Design Addresses Vision and Need

McAllen-based ERO Architects is nearing the completion of the schematic design phase of the new Hidalgo County courthouse. This design phase is the first of three design steps prior to construction.

The existing courthouse was built in 1954 to accommodate three courts when the county’s population was 168,629. The building has experienced four expansion upgrades to address the growth and judicial needs of the county. The county’s growth now has a population of almost five times that of 1950. Today, the county has 24 courts with some courtrooms, legal, administrative, general government and warehousing functions located at off-site facilities.

In 2004, the courthouse passed its 50-year mark designating it a historical structure by the Texas Historical Commission. ERO produced an historical preservation plan in 2012 in the event restoration of the current courthouse would need to take place. The courthouse needs to be brought up to code and requires several life safety, security and mechanical upgrades and improvements. This remediation and renovation effort could take up to four years and could cost well over $20,000,000.

At a recent joint workshop consisting of the County commissioners’ court and the City of Edinburg’s city council, ERO utilized 2D and 3D visualizations for its presentation to bring to life the vision and space needs that were established in the new courthouse’s 2012 master plan, produced in collaboration with county and city stakeholders and the community.

Located in the heart of downtown Edinburg, the new Hidalgo County courthouse can serve as an economic and quality of life cornerstone for the city’s urban vision and goals. The design of the new courthouse offers a modern 21st century judicial complex that is more spacious, secure and accessible. The 10-story building features a glass facade on the north side that provides an abundance of natural light with organized vertical transportation from floor-to-floor. It will accommodate 471,000 square feet of space and supports 24 courts and six additional courts for the future.

Rigorous attention to safety and security issues are addressed in the design of the new courthouse. Currently, defendants and inmates co-mingle with the public, supervised, on a regular basis in the halls, elevators and other public areas. The new design addresses these security issues by enforcing a clear circulation separation of defendants-in-custody from the public and legal community. The careful distribution of hierarchy of spaces into public, semi-public, semi-private and private areas has provided a functional plan that addresses a major concern for safety and flow.

The new design also introduces a jail component onto each floor that meets established jail and judicial requirements. The courthouse will be equipped with modern security technology and systems, as well as secure parking for judges and support staff.

A recent TxDOT study calls for the new judicial complex layout to close off Business 281, allowing for safer traffic and pedestrian flow that is common in similar courthouse squares. Leading up to the building is an exciting green space engaging visitors and outdoor enthusiasts in a central park-setting connecting to the city’s downtown master plan, the arts district and University of Texas - Rio Grande Valley.

ERO’s design philosophy of respecting the land, people and history of our region was present in every aspect of this first design phase. The firm took inspiration from the soil and the Rio Grande River and the many connecting irrigation canals, palm trees, citrus groves and palm-lined roads that represent the environmental make up of Hidalgo County. All of which helps the design of the building tie the new courthouse into our region’s landscape.

Hidalgo County commissioner’s court and the City of Edinburg’s council are determined to make the proposed courthouse a reality, sooner than later. They understand the need for a new facility and complex that can advance economic growth, offer a better judicial system, address life safety and security issues, encompass more space and be a part of a broader urban vision.

 

 

 

Sergio Castillo

ERO Architects Recognized in Texas Architect Magazine

The Thomas Jefferson T-STEM Early College High School was featured in the March/April 2014 issue of Texas Architect Magazine. The Pharr-San Juan-Alamo Independent School District school received a Merit Award for design in 2013 by the Lower Rio Grande Valley American Institute of Architects.

 

 

 

 

Sergio Castillo

ERO Architects Announces Certification of Sergio Castillo, BIM Specialist

(MCALLEN, Texas - February 18, 2014) Following a year of solid growth, ERO Architects is expanding its team of talented professionals. Sergio E. Castillo, BIM Specialist, recently joined the McAllen-headquartered architectural/engineering firm.

Castillo quickly took on the opportunity to further his professional development as he became the first and only Revit® Architecture Certified Professional in the Rio Grande Valley. The certification was awarded by Autodesk® and only 37 individuals in Texas, including Castillo, hold this distinction.

“I’ve dedicated the last five years to not only using Revit for Building Information Modeling (BIM) exclusively, but also mastering every aspect necessary to be successful and make it my own,” Castillo said. “Finally, finding a place within ERO Architects inspired me to test my skills and prove to myself I could become one of the few who can call themselves BIM Specialist by receiving a certification from a recognizable corporation.”

“BIM is at the center of the architectural industry. It provides visualization which is a key component to client relations and involvement,” said ERO Architects President/CEO Eli R. Ochoa. “With the addition of highly trained team members such as Mr. Castillo, ERO will continue to innovate and inspire a change in the design of buildings.”

 

 

 

 

ERO Architects MASBA Titanium Sponsor

ERO Architects to Present at 16th Annual Mexican-American School Board Association Conference

(MCALLEN, Texas - January 13, 2014) ERO Architects, a McAllen-based architecture and engineering firm, is proud to announce that it will be participating in the 16th Annual Mexican-American School Board Members Association (MASBA) Conference & Expo, to be held Thursday, January 30th–Sunday, February 2nd at the McAllen Convention Center. ERO Architects has been a longtime supporter of MASBA and is the non-profit’s official “Titanium” sponsor for 2014.

“ERO is honored to work with MASBA. The organization provides invaluable resources, knowledge and opportunities for school board members. MASBA represents the interests of its school board members before our state legislators and is an advocate for understanding student diversity, especially the Mexican-American culture,” said ERO Architects Chief Executive Officer Eli R. Ochoa, who is a former Rio Grande Valley school board member. “Like MASBA, ERO is committed to providing our youth, educators and school administration with proven successful strategies that will enrich education, specifically the learning environment.”

MASBA represents over 100 independent school district members from across the state of Texas. Attendees at the annual conference are primarily comprised of school board members and superintendents who will receive Continuing Education Credits (CECs) by participating and attending a diverse agenda of breakout sessions. This year, the MASBA conference will focus on Mexican-American curriculum in public schools.

Ochoa is scheduled to be a presenter at the MASBA Conference and will discuss designing 21st century learning environments and the positive impact it has on students, staff and the community.

 

 

 

 

Donna 3d LEED Award

ERO Architects Achieves First LEED School in Rio Grande Valley Donna ISD 3-D Academy Goes Green

(MCALLEN, Texas - November 21, 2013) ERO Architects in McAllen, Texas has announced that it has received Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED®) certification for one of its designs—Donna Independent School District’s 3-D Academy. The designation for sustainable design came early November after the building passed the strict standards of the U.S. Green Building Council. It is the first LEED Certified public school in the Rio Grande Valley.

“We are very proud to be part of this project. This is a wonderful achievement for ERO Architects and for Donna ISD,” said ERO Architects’ Chief Financial Officer Manuel Hinojosa, FAIA. “Our design approach has always been to recommend sustainable measures that are practical, easy to maintain and provide the most efficient use of budgetary costs, while maintaining a positive end-user experience.”

The building, which opened last year, includes seven classrooms, two computer labs, administrative offices and a cyber café. It features double glazed windows with low-emittance, which lowers the total heat flow through the windows. Low VOC paints, coatings, adhesives and sealants were selected to reduce indoor air contaminants and 75% of construction waste was diverted from landfills. Due to the design decisions made regarding indoor climate control and water consumption, the school district has experienced 12% savings in energy costs and 30% savings in utility costs.

But the building itself is not the only thing that makes Donna 3-D Academy such a noteworthy project. The three Ds stand for dedication, desire and determination. The students walking through the halls of the school are getting a second chance at achieving academic success by obtaining a high school diploma. The Donna 3-D Academy is geared toward young adults, ages 18–25, who attended school through the 12th grade, but did not graduate. Students are able to earn college credits while completing their high school education through a dual enrollment program designed to encourage them to pursue a college degree.

Pictured in front of the Donna ISD School Board Members is ERO Architects’ André F. de Mattos, LEED AP BD+C, Lydia Gonzalez, Donna 3-D Academy principal, and ERO Architects Chief Financial Officer Manuel Hinojosa, FAIA, as they hold the certificate that signifies the LEED certification.

 

 

 

 

PDF of the RGVision Magazine May/June 2013 article 21st Century School Design by Elizabeth C. Martinez

In the News: 21st Century School Design

ERO Architects is making great strides in designing 21st learning environments. Find out more in this article by ERO Architects Marketing Director Elizabeth C. Martinez, which was featured in RGVision Magazine May/June 2013 Issue.

Click here or the image to the right to download.

 

 

 

 

ERO Architects Recognized For Impacting Communities

(MCALLEN, Texas - May 29, 2013) ERO Architects, a McAllen-based architecture and engineering firm, announced that it will be receiving the “Molcajete Award,” the highest honor presented by the Mexican-American School Board Members Association (MASBA).

“The Molcajete Award is presented annually to an individual or organization that makes a difference in learning outcomes and the betterment of education,” said MASBA President Gloria Casas, of La Feria ISD. “ERO Architects is being recognized and rewarded for their continuous delivery of high quality education facilities that highlight the community’s culture while addressing the needs of the students and teachers. They are very supportive of all organizations that help develop individuals involved in public education, and personally, they have been my number one supporter.”

ERO Architects will be honored for their commitment to enhancing 21st century learning environments that aim for student success at the MASBA Summer Reception held on June 7 at the Marriott River Center during the annual Texas Association of School Boards (TASB) Summer Leadership Conference.

ERO Architects has been participating with MASBA for several years and supports their efforts to help Mexican-American school board members come together to find solutions related to educating our children in a diverse culture.

“For many years MASBA has been instrumental in promoting the relevance of our Mexican-American culture in public education. ERO is committed to respecting the culture of communities when designing educational facilities,” said ERO Architects Chief Marketing Officer Brian Godinez. “We believe that architecture and learning environments play a significant role in the positive development of children and students. We are honored to have been selected for such a prestigious award.”

 

 

 

 

2013 ERO All-Star After Party Flyer

ERO Architects' 6th Annual Region One School Board Conference All-Star After Party

On Saturday, May 18, 6:00 p.m., ERO Architects invites all school board members and superintendents to the 6th Annual Region One School Board Conference All-Star After Party at Doubleday Sports Bar of Champions in Port Isabel. This special event is held annually in recognition of the outstanding work of the school board members of Region One and the Mexican-American School Board Members Association (MASBA).

Click image at right or here to download the flyer.

For more information, please call ERO at (956) 655-4655.

 

 

 

 

Albert Chronis Gives Commencement Speech in Harlingen

(HARLINGEN, Texas - April 26, 2013) – Albert G. Chronis, with ERO Architects, delivered the commencement speech at TSTC’s graduation ceremony this year. Chronis was invited by TSTC President Dr. Cesar Maldonado to bestow the honor of addressing more than 300 graduating students.

Chronis earned his associate’s degree from TSTC and his Bachelor of Science in architecture from the University of Texas at San Antonio.

View entire article here.

Photos ©Jessica Morales.

 

 

 

 

ERO Architects Featured on City of McAllen Website

(McALLEN, Texas - April 22, 2013) – Design plans finalized for the New McAllen Performing Arts Center. Click on the image org here to view article.

 

 

 

 

ERO Architects set to design Houston ISD high school

(McALLEN, Texas - April 15, 2013) – The Houston Independent Board of Education voted recently to authorize the district to negotiate design contracts with 12 firms on a dozen 2012 bond projects, including 10 of the largest high schools and McAllen-based ERO Architects was one of them.

ERO Architects has been recommended to design a new facility for Furr High School. Furr High School opened in the fall of 1961 on Houston’s east side. The 2012 bond program will replace the existing facility with a new high school that will accommodate 1,100 to 1,300 students.

According to HISD’s news blog, HISD officials spent nearly three months reviewing qualifications submitted by 85 architectural and engineering firms seeking to do work with the district under the $1.89 billion bond program. As part of the review, the district invited members of each school’s staff and community to hear presentations by the three finalists selected for each project. Their feedback helped guide the district’s recommendations.

“We wanted to ensure that each school community had the opportunity to review the proposals and ask questions,” stated Leo Bobadilla, HISD chief operating officer in a HISD news blog post. “The recommended firms represent the best match for each project, taking into consideration the unique perspectives of the parents, staff, and principals who will be working with the architects and HISD staff to redesign their schools.”

ERO Architects Selected for New Hidalgo County Courthouse

(EDINBURG, Texas - April 9, 2013) – ERO Architects is pleased to announce that the Hidalgo County Commissioners’ Court voted unanimously to negotiate a professional services contract with ERO for the schematic design phase of a new Hidalgo County Courthouse Facility.

“We’re very pleased to have been selected as the top-ranked firm, which further extends our commitment to the County of Hidalgo and our community,” said Eli Ochoa, chief executive officer of ERO Architects. “We look forward to working with stakeholders on the design of a new courthouse facility and provide an historical role for this project. This is a significant milestone for our firm, for our county and for generations to come.”

ERO Architects is one of the leading architecture firms in South Texas with 25 employees, three registered architects and one LEED® Accredited professional. Last year, the firm led a master plan team to facilitate a 28-member committee to address the current and future needs of a new courthouse for Hidalgo County. The master plan committee recommended a multi-story facility built adjacent to the current courthouse in Downtown Edinburg. The master plan team also held community forums at each of the four county precincts. ERO Architects delivered a final master plan and historical preservation plan to the County which was adopted by the Court.

ERO Recognized for Arts Center in Brownsville

(Brownsville, Texas - April 2, 2013) – On April 2, SpawGlass held a presentation at the Brownsville Events Center to honor Brownsville Independent School District and ERO Architects for the recent achievement of winning the National “Eagle Award” of Excellence by the Associate Builders and Contractors, Inc. (ABC) for the Robert B. Buchanan Performing Arts Instructional Center at Hanna High School at Brownsville Independent School District.

“Receiving the Eagle Award is a great honor and we are extremely humbled,” said Eli Ochoa, ERO Architects CEO. “We had a great team to work with on this project. We constantly seek new and innovative ways to bring instruction and technology to students. The Buchanan Center offers students an invaluable learning experience.”

The ABC Eagle Award recognizes innovation, quality and vision demonstrated by the entire construction team including architects, contractors, engineers and owners.

“We are extremely pleased with this honor. It is one of the highest recognitions in the world of construction and design,” said ERO Architects CEO Eli Ochoa, PE, AIA. “It is a reflection of the team’s success in turning the needs of the school district into a truly valuable learning experience for students.”

Pictured (L to R): ERO Project Manager Albert Chronis, ERO Chief Executive Officer Eli Ochoa and President South Texas Region Rene Capistran.

ERO Architects receives National Excellence in Construction Award

(MCALLEN, Texas - February 28, 2013) – ERO Architects, a leader in education facility architectural design, announced today that it received the National “Eagle Award” of Excellence by the Associate Builders and Contractors, Inc. (ABC) for the Robert B. Buchanan Performing Arts Instructional Center at Hanna High School at Brownsville Independent School District. ABC bestowed this top honor on the performing arts center at its 23rd Annual Excellence in Construction Awards Ceremony on February 20 in Fort Lauderdale, Fla.

The ABC “Eagle Award” recognizes innovation, quality and vision demonstrated by the entire construction team including architects, contractors, engineers and owners.

The collaboration between Brownsville ISD, McAllen-based ERO Architects and general contractor SpawGlass led to the design and construction of this dynamic teaching and learning environment. The theatrical equipment put into the facility is comparable to that of major performance centers.

“We are extremely pleased with this honor. It is one of the highest recognitions in the world of construction and design,” said ERO Architects CEO Eli Ochoa, PE, AIA. “It is a reflection of the team’s success in turning the needs of the school district into a truly valuable learning experience for students.”

Pictured (L to R): SpawGlass President South Texas Region Rene Capistran, SpawGlass Senior Superintendent Kevin Bennett, Hanna High School Principal Teri Alacron and ERO Architects CEO Eli Ochoa.

ERO Architects receives Excellence in Construction Award

(MCALLEN, Texas - September 19, 2012) – The Robert B. Buchanan Fine Arts Instructional Center at Hanna High School, designed by McAllen-based ERO Architects, recently received state recognition for project design and construction.

The center, constructed by SpawGlass, won a first place Eagle Award from the 2012 Associated Builders and Contractors South Texas Chapter Excellence in Construction Awards.

The award was given in the institutional $5 to $10 million construction cost category. It is one of the highest honors in the construction industry and is in recognition of the extraordinary service by the project team.

Located at 2615 Price Rd. along one of Brownsville’s many resacas, the fine arts facility was completed in January 2012 and features a 400-seat auditorium designed to fit the students’ unique instructional and entertainment needs within this creative environment. With the use of electric hanging walls, the auditorium is able to be quickly converted into three fully-functional and independent lecture halls.

“Our project team is honored to have received this Eagle Award,” said ERO Architects Principal-in-Charge Eli R. Ochoa, PE, AIA. “We have been fortunate to work with an amazing group of professionals and being recognized by the Associated Builders and Contractors is not only gratifying, but also motivates us to provide the highest level of service we possibly can.”

As part of the campaign, Commissioner Staples and Senator Lucio visited several sites throughout Cameron and Hidalgo County on Monday, July 9, 2012. One site visited by the campaign was the San Carlos Community Resource Center in Precinct 4, where over 100 children are receiving free breakfast and lunch throughout the summer. Precinct 4 Commissioner Joseph Palacios met with No Kid Hungry Campaign officials at the San Carlos CRC and gave a tour of the center. The San Carlos CRC works with the community year round to provide services and activities for children and families living in Precinct 4.

Eli Ochoa featured in Celebrity Events magazine

Eli R. Ochoa, PE, AIA was recently awarded the Business Man of the Year award. He is featured on the cover of Celebrity Events magazine’s 40th issue. Click here to download the full article.

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Hidalgo County Courthouse Vision is Going Public

(EDINBURG, TX) – What are the needs for the new Hidalgo County Courthouse and what will it be? These are the questions that a 28-member County stakeholder committee has been developing answers for. Starting on February 16, the Hidalgo County Courthouse Master Plan Committee is hosting a series of community forums at each County precinct to engage the public and to seek input about the new courthouse.

“Bringing together stakeholders from various areas of our community is a key element to discovering the additional needs for a new courthouse,” said Hidalgo County Judge Ramon Garcia. “We need a new courthouse and hope that these important forums are well attended by our citizens and community leaders during this important process that will impact future generations for years to come.”

For the past five months, the Courthouse Master Plan Team, led by ERO Architects Owner Eli Ochoa, has been conducting interviews, acquiring data and meeting with users of the facility to really understand what their needs are and transfer this data and input to a master plan.

“In 1908, the population of our county was approximately 12,350 and our courthouse was 6,000 square feet. When the current courthouse was built in 1954, our population was approximately 168,000 and our courthouse was 56,000 square feet. Currently our population is close to 800,000 and we are using a courthouse that does not match our population. We need a new courthouse,” said Ochoa.

Ochoa’s team has determined that approximately 360,000 square feet is required to match today’s population and court needs, and has recommended designing a building with two empty floors to meet the future growth of Hidalgo County for the next 50 years.

A community forum will be held at each Hidalgo County precinct, four events in February. Each community event will provide an agenda for learning about the County and the history of the courthouse, as well as see the vision for the new courthouse and provide input. The dates and locations are as follows:

Precinct 3


When: Thursday, February 16, 2012 Time: 6-7pm
Where: 724 N Breyfogle, Mission, Texas
Phone: (956) 585-4509

Precinct 1


When: Monday, February 20, 2012 Time: 6-7pm
Where: Mercedes Civic Center, 530 E 2nd St, Mercedes, Texas
Phone: (956) 968-8733

Precinct 2


When: Wednesday, February 22, 2012 Time: 6-7pm
Where: San Juan Community Resource Center, 509 E Earling, San Juan, Texas
Phone: (956) 787-1891

Precinct 4


When: Thursday, February 23, 2012 Time: 6-7pm
Where: 1051 Doolittle Rd, Edinburg, Texas
Phone: (956) 383-3112

For more information contact Elizabeth C. Martinez at (956) 821-8662.

Courthouse financial plan wouldn’t affect other capital projects

Featured in The Monitor, January 18, 2012
Written by Jared Janes

(EDINBURG, TX - January 18, 2012) – A new county courthouse could be funded without deterring other capital improvement projects like a county jail expansion, budget officials said Wednesday.

Hidalgo County’s new courthouse could be covered under a portion of the county’s existing property tax revenues set aside for debt service. The county could take on up to $6 million in annual debt service for the courthouse while leaving room in the budget for the jail expansion and other projects in the county’s precincts.

The proposed courthouse meets the county’s tight budgetary constraints placed by commissioners reluctant to raise taxes or adversely affect other plans. But Hidalgo County Judge Ramon Garcia said a pressing need is the county’s lack of space at the courthouse, evidenced by county and district courts that are scattered in rented spaces around the county square.

“We’re looking at constructing a very badly needed project at today’s dollar costs that will carry us into the next century,” Garcia said following the fourth meeting of a master plan committee for the courthouse.

The county’s vision for a new courthouse appears to be coalescing behind a plan for a nine-story courthouse with an estimated price tag of about $55 million. The new courthouse would complement the existing facility built in 1954 for a fraction of the county’s current population and legal needs.

The current building, which is classified as a historic courthouse under a state statute, would be preserved to meet other judicial needs. The plan calls for the county to spend up to $15 million bringing the current courthouse up to code and renovating it to serve other purposes.

The master plan committee first met in October to decide what to do with its courthouse facilities, where, between the courthouse and its annexes, about 101,000 square feet of space is currently available. The proposed nine-story building would create an additional 290,000 square feet for 28 courtrooms, easily meeting the existing demands for space.

The new courthouse could also be designed to later add two stories to meet projected needs for the future.

While the committee has yet to delve into the financials of a courthouse, Hidalgo County budget director Sergio Cruz said the architectural firm is working within a budget of about $70 million for construction costs. The courthouse’s total costs, including interest and other expenses, could be covered within the 7 cents the county sets aside from its property tax rate for debt service.

The plan leaves little room for expenses identified as superfluous. A potential parking garage, for example, was scrapped because it was cost-prohibitive when land for parking is abundant nearby.

“The county has a lot of needs, from drainage to the expansion of the county jail,” said Eli Ochoa, the ERO architect leading the master plan’s development. “There is a big need for this facility. In order to do that, we have to work with the resources we have.”

ERO Architects Announces TSTC University Center Named Green Project Winner

ERO Architects Announces TSTC University Center Named Green Project Winner

Sustainable facility to be honored in December edition of ENR Texas & Louisiana

(MCALLEN, TX - October 31, 2011) – ERO Architects’ design of the new University Center at Texas State Technical College (TSTC) in Harlingen has been named a 2011 Best Projects award winner by Engineering News Record (ENR) Texas & Louisiana.

The University Center at TSTC earned a Merit Award in the “Green Project” category by ENR Texas & Louisiana. The award program deliberated over more than 100 entries and selected 27 projects in 16 categories. All projects will be honored in the December edition of ENR Texas & Louisiana and during an awards ceremony on December 14 in Houston.

“We’re extremely proud and honored to receive this recognition,” said ERO Architects CEO Eli R. Ochoa. “The University Center is a great example of how important sustainability is and our team effort of reducing our overall environmental footprint.”

Texas State Technical College’s new, state-of-the-art University Center is the only LEED Gold building south of San Antonio. It is also one of just 15 LEED Gold educational institutions in the entire state of Texas.

“After a thorough search, ERO was the best choice for the unique nature of this project. They have an outstanding track record, and have come through once again,” TSTC President Dr. Cesar Maldonado, PE.

A respect of the area’s history is demonstrated in both the interior and exterior of the University Center. A weave pattern along an exterior wall pays homage to the Coahuiltecans—small Indian tribes that inhabited the region prior to the 1800s. The hard masonry, brick and mortar are softened by an open air trellis at the main entrance. Elegant beams that grace the interior came from repurposed lumber salvaged from old Army Air Corps barracks that were demolished to make room for the new build.

“The challenge that this center presented to our team was to bridge the gap between the cultural preservation of the Harlingen community and the modern context that is demonstrated by sustainable practices with the intention of low environmental impact,” said ERO Architects Chief Design Officer Manuel Hinojosa.

From the natural light that bathes the interior to a sophisticated air quality system that constantly moderates the temperature for optimum comfort, this innovative design proves to be the result of an award-winning building.