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EPCC says new parking garage will include historic wall

Parking Garage rendering for El Paso Community College's Rio Grande Campus

El Paso Community College is looking to add a new parking garage to its Rio Grande Campus.

The new parking garage will include 400 parking spaces and several classrooms. The project is estimated to cost close to $25 million.

The project was announced in October 2017. The planned parking garage sits on a historical site, which raised a red flag for the Historic Landmark Commission.

On Thursday during its regular board meeting, the city's planning commission approved the college's request to build on the land.

Paulo Peres is the EPCC architecture for the new parking garage.

"The first historical meeting that we had, that's when we found out that that house was even there because, in our initial meeting, we were, like, 'Why was that even there? It's a parking lot,'" Peres said.

A cement rock wall near the intersection of Montana Avenue and Oregon Street is what's left from a house with history going back to the 1900s.

Even though EPCC bought that land, approval was needed from the city's Historic Landmark Commission to build there. But at Thursday's meeting the college announced that the commission is willing to work with EPCC if it accommodates the rock wall into the new parking garage.

Peres said the college cannot afford any delays to the project, which is why it provided multiple renderings of the parking garage to ensure the wall will remain there.

“We are certainly willing to work with historical commission and go through the whole process but it just seems silly especially coming to find that there was a house there but it was just a wall."

The next step to begin construction is to get final approval from city council later this month.

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