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UTRGV, City of Harlingen, HCISD break ground on Early College High School

Future UTRGV site

By UTRGV News and Internal Communications

 HARLINGEN, TEXAS – SEPT. 1, 2020 – UTRGV, in partnership with the City of Harlingen and the Harlingen school district broke ground today on the new UTRGV Early College High School, located at 2901 Medical Drive in Harlingen.

This campus helps replace the current ECHS on Pecan Street with a 64,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art facility on 6.3 acres gifted by the City of Harlingen. The design phase began in spring 2019, with the new campus expected to open fall in 2021.

UTRGV ECHS offers students a direct path to a bachelor’s degree with a focus on academic core, engineering, computer science or education.

Through this program, students can earn up to 60 hours by the time they graduate from high school.

Dr. Janna Arney, UTRGV deputy president and interim provost, said this partnership will benefit hundreds of Valley high school students by giving them an academic and a financial jump on college. 

“This partnership exemplifies UTRGV’s commitment to student success and specifically to the success of our Harlingen Early College High School students,” Arney said. “We are grateful to the City of Harlingen and to the Harlingen Consolidated ISD for being great partners in this extraordinary project.”

The new building was made possible by the city’s land donation, and an agreement between UTRGV and HCISD to pay half each for construction.

Harlingen Mayor Chris Boswell said the new school highlights the growing relationship between the university, the city and the school district.

“This is truly a historic and innovative partnership which will make higher education degrees so much more accessible to young people in our community,” Boswell said.


The Harlingen Consolidated Independent School District established Early College High School in fall 2007, creating the third public high school and the first specialized high school in the city. In fall 2017, ECHS entered into an agreement with UTRGV. Plans for building a new campus began in February 2019.


The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) was created by the Texas Legislature in 2013 as the first major public university of the 21st century in Texas. This transformative initiative provided the opportunity to expand educational opportunities in the Rio Grande Valley, including a new School of Medicine, and made it possible for residents of the region to benefit from the Permanent University Fund – a public endowment contributing support to the University of Texas System and other institutions.

UTRGV has campuses and off-campus research and teaching sites throughout the Rio Grande Valley including in Boca Chica Beach, Brownsville (formerly The University of Texas at Brownsville campus), Edinburg (formerly The University of Texas-Pan American campus), Harlingen, McAllen, Port Isabel, Rio Grande City, and South Padre Island. UTRGV, a comprehensive academic institution, enrolled its first class in the fall of 2015, and the School of Medicine welcomed its first class in the summer of 2016.


UTRGV Director of News and Internal Communications / 956-665-2742

Public Relations / Community Engagement Director, Harlingen School District / 956-430-9530