San Felipe Del Rio CISD holds ribbon cutting of the new Student Performance Center and Administration Building on 315 Griner Street

Rubén Cantú-Rodríguez/Conexión Del Río

DEL RIO – A building with a larger-than-life history, fully restored, and yet still filled with plenty of memories…

The stage of the old Del Rio High School auditorium became a mixture of memories and modernity this Tuesday morning, August 9, 2016, for the ribbon cutting and dedication ceremony of the San Felipe Del Rio CISD Student Performance Center and Administration Building, 315 Griner St. Del Rio, Texas.

The history-filled ceremony had a host of special guests, but three of them were of a very high significance: Mrs. Betty Ann Daniel Hollingsworth, representing the Class of 1943, Mrs. Jerry McDonald Stone – Class of 1944, and Mrs. Norma Mae McDonald Lowery – Class of 1945, all three of them led the Pledge of Allegiance.

Mrs. Norma Mae McDonald Lowery – Class of 1945, Mrs. Jerry McDonald Stone – Class of 1944, and Mrs. Betty Ann Daniel Hollingsworth, representing the Class of 1943, leading the Pledge of Allegiance.

Joshua Overfelt, San Felipe Del Rio CISD Board of Trustees Vice President and history teacher, was in charge of the historical part of the program.

Overfelt reminded the capacity-filled auditorium about the very first Del Rio High School, which was built in about 1893, on Griner Street. The building would come and go through renovations and additions, and some would be demolished as the town would grow into the 20th century.  

“As the 1920s arrived,” said Overfelt “Del Rio School District realized that they needed a new high school. The district authorized the construction on the latter part of the 1920s, but it was until 1930 when the new high school was constructed.”

Eighty-six years later DRHS is still engraved on the lintel above the main doorway as you go into the building.

The restoration was based on a postcard from the 1930s and 1940s, when maroon and gold were the school colors and the Wildcat was still the school’s mascot.

Overfelt explained that the mascot was at one point an actual bobcat, found in the outskirts of town by Roger Thurman and his friends. They would bring the feline to the football games on a chain. When the animal died it was buried in what would later become the Marcy Martin Memorial Field.

Dr. Carlos H. Rios, San Felipe Del Rio CISD Superintendent, recognized the support given to the restoration and construction project by the Board of Trustees, and said that the cost of the Student Performance Center and Administration Building was nearly $2 million under budget.

“Through careful planning, working with the architect and contractor we were able to accomplish all this, the initial cost was over $9 million and we were able to make it with just a little bit over $7 million,” Dr. Rios said.

“The district had excess amount in fund balance, so we were able to take some of the savings that had accumulated, over different years, and I asked the board if I could balance the budget… and they did, we balanced the budget, in no shape or form we were in deficit so they gave us $25 million,” he added.

The funds were not only for the construction of this building, but also for the construction of the CT Center on 10th Street, the renovation of Old Del Rio High School Old Del Rio Middle School, and the renovation of the building the administration used to be housed in, which became the Early College High School.

The most representative part of the Student Performance Center is the auditorium, but there are also new additions such as the dressing area in back of the stage, to the right of the stage an elevator shaft was added, and the same square footage was added at the other end of the building to keep it symmetrical.