This is your Friday update, which takes a quick look at the week ahead and some developments that El Paso Matters is following.
Star of the Mountain Goes Dark: The El Paso Chamber, which manages El Paso’s iconic Star on the Mountain, turned off the landmark Tuesday in anticipation of an extensive renovation project that will make the star’s infrastructure more energy efficient and technologically advanced. The chamber and the El Paso Chamber Foundation will fund the project. Chamber representatives will provide the project’s timeline and scope of work during a press conference at 2 p.m. Monday in the chamber’s headquarters, 303 N. Oregon St., Suite 610.
UTEP breaks year-old record for freshman: The University of Texas at El Paso announced Thursday that it broke its registration record for first-time in college students for the second straight year. It reported 3,834 freshmen enrolled this fall compared to the 3,689 last year, which was the previous record. That is a 4% increase. Prior to that, the maximum in that category was 3,400 in 2019. Overall, the university registered 24,352 graduates and undergraduates this fall compared to 23,880 last year, which is a 2% increase.
City Manager Search RFP: The El Paso City Council voted this week to issue a new RFP for a firm to lead the search for a city manager. The RFP, which is expected to be issued in late September, will have some specific conflict of interest protections. Any search firm selected must first disclose any relationships the firm might have with past and current El Paso city officials including the former city manager, current council members, the interim city manager, deputy city managers and the chief human resources officer. Also, the selected firm must conduct a national search and the candidates cannot be exclusively from the firm’s clientele list. The goal is to award the bid for a search firm in early December. The city has been without a permanent city manager since June when the contract with Tommy Gonzalez ended after it was terminated in February. Cary Westin is the current interim city manager.
Sun City Dodgeball Tournament: The El Paso Chamber’s Leadership Class is looking for 32 teams to participate in a new Sun City Dodgeball tournament that will benefit the La Nube children’s museum being built Downtown. The tournament will be from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Oct. 14 at Bel Air High School. Entry fee is $500 per team and each team must have seven to 11 players and must be ready to play all day. For more information and to register your team, or to become a sponsor, visit www.suncitydodgeball.com.
Schenider Electric Expands – Gov. Greg Abbott was in El Paso on Thursday for the ribbon-cutting of a new manufacturing plant owned by the French electric infrastructure company Schneider Electric, which has operated in El Paso since 2001. It’s Schneider’s fourth manufacturing facility within its campus in the Northwest, near West Towne Marketplace. The $20 million plant – where employees produce equipment such as electric panel boards – will employ about 400 people, and the company is currently hiring for a second shift. Abbott said the company’s additional investment in El Paso was a result of “buy-in from the local community.”