Miller High School is getting some major renovations.
A group of area residents cheered Friday morning as school administrators and board members broke ground on new projects at the school.
The campus opened in 1929, making it the oldest current high school in the district. The renovation plans will provide two new classrooms, a new ROTC area and a new drop-off and pickup area easing traffic for parents.
Corpus Christi Independent School District board member John Longoria says the renovation is the culmination of eight years of work for him.
“What it’s going to do is bring a central focus point so that you know where the front office is,” Longoria said. “Right now, unless you went here, you don’t know where the front office is at. That’s where this will give a sense of arrival to the school, where to go and provide some protections here.”
Alice Upshaw-Hawkins, current CCISD board vice president, attended Miller High School when it underwent its first renovation.
Upshaw-Hawkins recalls sitting in a third-floor classroom staying cool with air from windows because there wasn’t any air conditioning at the school at the time.
She remembers reading “Moby Dick” with the rhythm of jack hammers blasting in the background. Years later, she taught at her alma mater.
Upshaw-Hawkins said she’s honored to be a part of the school’s latest transformation.
“We have always fought to keep Miller up and going,” she said. “We fought to keep the tradition alive. The tradition is still alive.
“The building and some of this area has been neglected. They’re shutting down the neighborhoods all around. So, to put money and resources into this school which has the history of CCISD means an awful lot to me and I’m looking forward to the new look.”
The departure of some aspects of the old school is disappointing for Upshaw-Hawkins, but she realizes progress must be continue at Miller.
“I’m saddened by losing the old look but we do have to keep up with the times and I’m so pleased to take part of this whole environment,” she said.
Dr. Bruce Wilson is the school’s newest principal. He’s excited about the transformation at his school and says it will benefit from the new additions.
“This means lots more opportunities for our kids, more space for our kids,” Wilson said. “So, they can really develop in academics but also on the athletic side of things.”
Longoria says Miller’s renovations will benefit his attendance area.
“This community is never going to go away in my opinion. People will always live in the area,” Longoria said. “They’re always going to want to be part of the Miller Community no matter where they move. People have a lot of pride.
“You know ‘Once a Buc, always a Buc.’ I believe this is always going to be part of our history, current history and part of the education system in Corpus Christi. It’s always going to be an important high school in this community.”
The school will also add a third gym for students who attend the Metro Prep program at the school.
The projects will be paid for with a bond package approved by voters in 2016.