EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – The Lincoln Center in South Central El Paso is officially the site for the Mexican American Cultural Institute’s (MACI) national headquarters.

The organization signed the lease for the building located at 4001 Durazno Avenue, Thursday morning in cooperation with the Texas Department of Transportation.

MACI announced its fundraising effort to develop planned multi-campus, world-class facilities to document and celebrate Mexican American contributions, history and traditions.

“It’s the beginning of us being able to tell the story of Mexican Americans nationally…”

Jaime Esparza, MACI Board Member

The Lincoln Center was built in 1912 and once served as a school, church, youth center and the offices for the City of El Paso Parks and Recreation Department.

TXDOT owned the building and originally had plans to demolish the building in 2014 as part of the I-10 Connect Project.

“There’s a tremendous degree of pride we have with the neighborhood to try and save it,” MACI President Silvestre Reyes said.

Reyes said the building has an estimated value of $5-$8 million dollars.

Renditions courtesy MACI

The board unveiled renderings of the modernization plans for the center, showing the plans include a sleek, modern look, art galleries and a cafe.

“We want to be an important component of education and recognition of so many heroes that come out of our communities,” Reyes said.

MACI’s Lincoln Center preservation work begins immediately with renovation work set to begin on Monday, January 31.

Work will begin in phases with interior demolition scheduled first. The board said the original murals and school will be preserved. The complete renovation will be $10 million.

Renditions courtesy MACI

Reyes said the board is working on fundraising projects.

It’s projected to open in 2024, with the hopes to bring visitors to El Paso from across the country to learn about Mexican American history.

MACI plans to feature archived documents, exhibits, classes, celebrations and other historic events.

MACI is a non-profit organization established in 2016.

The plans for the center are different compared to the City of El Paso’s plans for a Mexican American Cultural Center in Downtown El Paso.

The City’s proposed center will be built out of the main library on North Oregon Street

Construction costs are nearly $15 million for the construction and design of the center. It is one of the signature bond projects funded by the 2012 Quality of Life bond initiative.

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