Breaking Ground


With a focus on expanding partnerships and educational opportunities for students, Harlingen CISD collaborated with the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley and the city of Harlingen to construct an exciting new venture.

The three partners announced in February the opening of a new UTRGV Early College High School campus, spanning thousands of square feet, to be located near Camelot Drive and Hale Avenue.

Through the partnership, hundreds of early college high school students will attend the new campus where they will earn their high school diplomas as well as university credit hours.

“I’m excited because our freshman class is going to be the first class to graduate from the new campus, and I feel like it’s going to attract more students,” said Ximena Benitez, a freshman at the current ECHS campus.

ECHS provides students an authentic college learning experience. Under the guidance of UTRGV professors, ECHS students will earn up to 60 hours of college credit by the time they graduate high school.

“In Harlingen, we are committed to putting students at the front of the line of opportunities,” HCISD Superintendent Dr. Art Cavazos said. “This project defines the goals we have set for not only our district, but for our community and generations of college-bound students to come. I could not think of a better time or a better place for this to happen.”

This marks Phase 1 for UTRGV’s baccalaureate programming presence in Harlingen.

Through a partnership with an accredited university, ECHS students graduate high school with their academic core or are on a fast track towards careers in engineering, computer science, and education. By selecting collegiate pathways they are passionate about, students save time and money while developing successful study habits.

“We want UTRGV to be a university for the entire valley, and our partnership with Harlingen CISD is a great example of that,” UTRGV President Guy Bailey said. “We are excited about expanding our partnership with the Early College High School, and we look forward to other collaborations that will benefit Harlingen students and their families.”

UTRGV is working with the City of Harlingen to secure the building site of the campus, featuring classroom space and teaching labs.

“That’s a lot of help for us because a lot of students like to have a head start, and I think it’s really nice,” Benitez said of the contributions.

UTRGV and Harlingen CISD will each contribute for its construction,and the city committed to donating the land.

“A prosperous community is one that works together,” Harlingen Mayor Chris Boswell said. “In Harlingen, we unite to support the youth of our community and equip them with the skills they need to be successful, which is in keeping with HCISD’s commitment to graduate students college, career, and community ready.”