HARLINGEN — It’s official.

The city of Harlingen, the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley and the Harlingen Consolidated Independent School District signed an agreement Tuesday for the construction of a new Early College High School campus.

Harlingen Mayor Chris Boswell, Superintendent Art Cavazos and UTRGV President Guy Bailey signed the joint agreement at the UTRGV Clinical Education Building Auditorium.

“It truly is a great day in Harlingen as we embark on this remarkable partnership and endeavor,” Boswell said. “I want to congratulate HCISD and UTRGV for the vision to create this institution, Early College High School general education campus here in the city of Harlingen.”

The Harlingen CISD Board of Trustees approved a resolution last year to work with UTRGV for the new $14 million state-of-the-art campus at Hale Avenue and Camelot Drive. The city of Harlingen donated the land. The campus will offer courses in four career pathways: academic core, engineering, computer science and aspiring teacher. Both entities will split the cost. The new campus will replace the current facility at 2510 Pecan St.

Bailey spoke with great charisma about the partnership.

“It is a wonderful day to see the city of Harlingen, UTRGV and Harlingen public schools all on one side,” he said. “This really signifies how things ought to work. It means that everybody is focused on the same goal.”

And that goal?

Student success, of course. The new ECHS campus will provide new opportunities for that success, where students will take UTRGV courses specific to their purpose.

“We’re looking at a seamless transition from high school to college.” Bailey said. “You’re not just getting dual credit courses, it’s going to be more than that. In the 11th grade, you know what your major is going to be. You’re not just taking college courses, you’re working toward your college degree.”

Bailey thanked the University of Texas Board of Regents for its support, and then welcomed one of those board members, Dr. Nolan Perez, who is also president of the Harlingen school board. Perez extended his gratitude to the city of Harlingen. Several city leaders, including City Commissioner Mike Mezmar and City Manager Dan Serna, were in attendance.

“Obviously this could not be possible without the generous donation of the land, mayor and commissioners, so thank you for that,” Perez said. “The fact that you were able to give this to help grow opportunities for higher education in this region is really amazing.”

This development has caught the attention of people far and wide. Perez said when representatives of Apple and other entities visit the area, they ask about the proposed new campus.

“One of the things that they gravitate towards is, ‘Tell me what’s happening with this new Early College High School campus that you are building,’” Perez said. “When they realize the alignment that we’re creating with public schools and with UTRGV, everybody is just blown away.”

The new facility is expected to open in August 2021.