SAN JUAN, RGV – Pharr-San Juan-Alamo ISD has hosted a dedication and ribbon cutting ceremony for its newest facility, the Dr. Daniel P. King PSJA College & University Center.
It is named for their longtime superintendent who retired this past week. Mariza Saenz, principal of PSJA College & University Center, said the center would house all King’s awards and memorabilia.
King served 20 years as a school superintendent, including 12 at PSJA, and 42 years in public education.
The center started life as the second home of PSJA High School in 1960, serving this purpose until the early 2000s. It was then used as San Juan Middle School which was renamed Raul H. Yzaguirre Middle School. When the middle school moved to a different location the center was gutted and remodeled, re-opening in the fall of 2018.
The center houses various PSJA ISD programs and Early College initiatives. With state-of-the-art facilities and equipment, it serves as a college styled campus for students engaged in specialized programs in partnership with various colleges and universities.
South Texas College is the primary partner, but University courses are also offered through the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley and Texas A&M University Kingsville. Other higher education institutions will soon be joining the partnership, with Texas A&M University expressing an interest.
“This campus represents the future, past, and present of PSJA ISD,” said PSJA School Board President Jesse Zambrano. “Over the last 12 years, Dr. King has helped transform the district. Today, we want to honor him for all the work that he has done.”
The above podcast features remarks made at the dedication and ribbon-cutting ceremony by Saenz, Zambrano, state Rep. Terry Canales, Sara King and Dr. King himself. Sara King is Daniel King’s wife and a professor at PSJA. Arianna Vazquez-Hernandez, PSJA’s director of communications, emceed the event.
“From the State Capitol to everywhere I go, they are always talking about the work here at PSJA ISD. The changes Dr. King has made are revolutionary. The lives he’s changed and the things he’s done for our city, our community, our state and nation are remarkable,” Canales said. “If I had to describe PSJA ISD, I would say it is the sun and the rays have lit the entire county of Hidalgo and stretched across the great State of Texas.”
Canales presented Dr. King with a resolution for his retirement and a Texas Flag flown over the Capitol.
According to a PSJA news release, the College and University Center was the capstone project for Dr. King’s vision for “designing an early college school system that has the potential to connect every student to and through post-secondary education and into a successful career.”
The news release says this was made possible, in part, “by his ability to find funding, in this case approximately $30,000,000, the majority of which came from zero interest federally supported bonds to be repaid with no interest over a 15-year period. As this campus represents his vision for the district, it is only fitting that it bears his name.”
In his remarks, Dr. King thanked the “PSJA family” for their support. “I want to thank all of our incredible teachers and counselors. Our faculty for leading the way at every level. We couldn’t do it without you.”
Dr. King has agreed to serve on advisory boards to help PSJA in the future. The new superintendent is Dr. Jorge L. Arredondo.