The Brownsville Independent School District made it official Wednesday morning, cutting the ribbon on the new Hanna Early College High School Gymnasium and multi-purpose facility.
The facility cost $8.41 million in taxpayer funds and will be the site of “many games to come, many championships,” Superintendent Rene Gutierrez predicted, thanking the myriad of groups, individuals and professional organizations that played a role in the new gymnasium’s completion. He thanked the Brownsville community for supporting BISD, its educational mission, and its athletic and extra-curricular programs in particular.
The new gym became a reality after a property tax rate increase went into effect in 2017. Gutierrez thanked current and previous boards of trustees for keeping their promise to build the new facility, which had been sought for many years and now stands as the largest high school gymnasium in the Rio Grande Valley and best in deep South Texas, he said.
“It thrills me when I think of the thousands of students that will come through here,” BISD trustee and facilities chairwoman Drue Brown said. “What a wonderful thing when athletes from across the Valley come to play and they see the crown jewel that we have here. It’s just a wonderful facility and I couldn’t be prouder. It’s first class.”
Brown referenced the important role a high school gymnasium plays in a school’s life and said the new gym will host dozens of extra-curricular activities in addition to basketball and volleyball games.
Hanna Principal Blanca Lambarri thanked the board and administration for their support in getting the facility built. She said current students and Golden Eagle fans will enjoy the facility along with generations of students and fans to come.
Fermin H. Lucio and Luis Gonzalez, boys and girls basketball coaches, respectively, said the facility is a welcome addition to Hanna athletic programs. Lucio said BISD plans to host a Brownsville Invitational Tournament at the new gymnasium in December.
Nellie Cantu, deputy superintendent for business and operations, said the facility has 38,475 square feet of space, a seating capacity of 2,164 and has movable basketball goals for center-court UIL competition. It has two auxiliary courts for practices and a modern, center-hung scoreboard.
Gomez Mendez Saenz was the chief architect for the project, and Gerlach Builders dba Will-Con the general contractor. Construction was approved in October 2019, and BISD accepted the project as substantially complete in November 2020.