Vacant plots can blossom into school buildings

HARLINGEN — The Harlingen school district often purchases property which then lays dormant for years.

The plots are almost like sleeper cells, waiting for the day when they’re called into service, providing space for a school or other facility.

Such was the case for the Dr. Abraham P. Cano Freshman Academy at 1701 Lozano St. The district purchased the property about 20 years ago, but the school opened in August 2013.

So how did the district know the property would be so useful some day?

“We’re always looking at long term,” said Oscar Tapia, assistant superintendent for operations. “One of the things the district’s done over the years is looked at our student enrollment growth patterns, to see what parts of the city are growing and when we can project future schools in the future five, 10, 15 years out.”

Tapia said these concerns prompted the district to purchase the Cano property as well as so many others.

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