Wichita Falls ISD board members have their eyes on a new piece of property for the Career and Technical Education center. This comes nearly six weeks after the school bond was passed by voters.
Initially the district was looking at the property by Central Freeway and Old Iowa Park Road. However, after environmental tests done by the TCEQ the land was determined to not be suitable.
The new property is near the intersection of Henry S Grace Freeway and Hatton Road. However, School Board President Trey Sralla has mixed feelings about the property.
“The one off Central Freeway and Old Iowa Park Road I like the visibility better there obviously, but this is a lot more land for the month,” he said.
On Tuesday, board members approved to purchase the land, which is approximately 70 acres. They also approved to go into negotiations for another property in the area, which is approximately 20 acres. In addition to the land, WFISD already owns property at the location. So, if everything goes as planned, they would end up with approximately 100 acres of land.
Many Texomans wondered if all of the land is necessary, since initially they were only looking at 20 acres for the facility. However, Sralla said it is all about looking to the future and the potential growth of the district.
“Maybe this will be the catalyst that we need in that area to stimulate growth,” he said.
Part of the perks with the piece of property is the price tag. The previous location would have cost $1.1-million. The new location will cost $439,000. So, they are spending less than half and getting five times more land. Another perk is the visibility, which is important to the board members.
“This is not going to be as visible as the original location, we planned, obviously because it's off Hatton Road, but it will still be very visible to people that visit Wichita Falls,” Sralla said.
The fact that the property is central to all of the campuses is another plus. The district will provide transportation for the students. Of course the final perk is the size of the property.
“You can always use land and the one thing about land is they're not making anymore of it,” he said.
Before the deal can be sealed, the TCEQ will need to conduct an environmental study. Sralla said this will be done in the next few weeks.
“I don't know that there's been any development in this area before,” he said, “It might very well be fine and we may be able to get started soon than later.”
The contract states the district has 120 days to opt out of the agreement. However, officials are hopeful this will be the location for the CTE center.