School officials, parents concerned over ponding project in far east El Paso

Ponding area near John Drugan Elementary .jpg

A proposed stormwater pond has SISD officials and parents worried about safety near John Drugan Elementary School.

This is part of the county’s plans to widen Pellicano Drive into a six-lane road as well as alleviating street flooding in the area.

The county wants to deepen this stormwater pond next to John Drugan Elementary School.

But the proximity to the school has district officials a bit concerned about how accessible it could be to kids.

El Paso County officials met with Socorro Independent School District board members this week.

They want to partner to build a stormwater pond next to the school.

The idea has been met with some concern from the district.

“If it becomes a deep pond, will it have a fence around it? A rock wall? Safety is a concern if it becomes a deeper pond,” said Tom Eyeington Chief Operations Officer.

“This is just one potential area where there’s potential collaboration between two governmental entities that could be mutually beneficial,” said Vince Perez, county commissioner Precinct 3.

Those benefits either adding more school parking or another play area next to the pond.

The county said the safety issues are all factors they’re taking into consideration as they move towards the design phase.

Ultimately it will be up to the district to say yes or no.

“Any concerns of it being too close to the school or anything like that are issues that can be taken back to the design team and see whether that’s something they can mitigate or if that’s something they can figure out elsewhere on the roadway. It’s a three-mile stretch,” said Perez.

Some parents were all for having a pond, just not near the school.

“If they think they can do it safely, then I guess it’s fine. But it’s too far. The problem is further down on Pellicano. I don’t know why they’d do it here,” said Perla Reyes, a parent.

Others think it’s not a good idea.

“A lot of kids walk home. I know my kids walk home. It does get pretty flooded when it rains. It does get pretty flooded and you see a lot of traffic there. But I say I would rather have a couple minutes of traffic than have somebody get hurt,” said Yvonne Silva.

The district has some time to think it over.

District officials will be meeting with the county over the next several months.

There may also be some public meetings in that time.

County officials said they will need an answer by summertime.

They hope to finalize designs for the project in the fall and start construction by this time next year.

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