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Thomas Manor Elementary reconstruction project holds special meaning for Ysleta ISD alum

The old Thomas Manor Elementary School building is no more—it’s been demolished and is getting completely rebuilt from the ground up as part of the 2015 Ysleta ISD bond.

The old school’s students have temporarily consolidated with Cadwallader Elementary School.

But what many don't know is that the man who designed the new campus is actually a YISD grad, and he is sharing some words of wisdom for the future students of the school.

Gerry Gutierrez is an artist. He paints with lines. His masterpieces are buildings. He’s an architect.

“Anybody that looks at [the design plans] will say, ‘I just see lines.’ We see a building, but in 3D form,” he said.

Gutierrez was born and raised in the Lower Valley. Now he’s getting to design the elementary school in the community he grew up in.

“I've had some opportunity to do several projects with the school district, but really, I think Thomas Manor hit it in the spot because that's really home,” he said.

Gutierrez designed the school with his two partners-- who were also, at one point, just schoolkids growing up in the same neighborhood.

They used the schools’ consolidation as inspiration for the design concept, which they’ve labeled ‘Soul of The River.’

“You have students joining--two schools joining to become one. And eventually they go to Riverside Middle and Riverside High School. And at that point the sky's the limit,” Gutierrez said.

As a new generation of students prepares to move into the school in the future, Gutierrez tells KFOX14 he hopes they keep one thing in mind:

“If you can always remember -- dedication, discipline and desire -- you will make it alive. So pretty much that till today from when they told it to me, it's never [left me]. It’s always in my brain.”

The all-new Thomas Manor Elementary School has a projected opening date of fall 2018.

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