The MISD Board of Directors hired Parkhill Architects of Lubbock to design the Muleshoe Activity Center project at its regular meeting on October 18.
Superintendent Dr R.L. Richards stressed the plans were preliminary, but council agreed the building should include a three-way square footpath, large conference hall, bathrooms, warehouse and land grass inside the new facility.
The building will be paid for with funds that have been set aside.
“There will be no bond issuance and taxes will not be raised,” Richards said.
The idea for the building was born at the end of December or the beginning of January. The council discussed a facility that could be used for music, softball, baseball, athletics, football and physical education classes.
“There will also be a conference/training room where we can do training with children or staff members,” Richards said. “We are still in the planning stages, still discussing how the community might use it.”
The walking track, around 220 meters around, could be a place where the community could use the facility.
“The band will use it quite a bit,” Richards said. “When the marching band is in class, the football team is on the field, so they can’t practice marching very well, unless it’s very late at night. Also, when it’s cold in the winter or when there are earth storms in the spring, it will be a place for extra activities, a place to practice basketball, softball or a band.
The size of the installation will be determined by the budget.
The Board of Directors followed the project’s competitive bidding process. Staff and administration then narrowed the number of applicants down to three, who were interviewed at the board meeting. They chose Parkhill Architects for their experience in building facilities such as the proposed activity centre.
“We sent them information Wednesday after the school board meeting, and sat down with them again after that,” Richards said. “They’ll give me more information, and I’ll come back with the advice.”
The facility will be built on existing school land and will not involve the purchase of additional land. “The size of the facility will depend on the budget,” Richards said. “There is no cost estimate yet, maybe in two or three months. It’s really in the preliminary stages.
Richards plans to regularly update the public on the project process.
The council spent much of the night discussing the future of Muleshoe ISD, two possible solar power projects and Senate Bill 1. The bill has passed the Texas House and Senate and is awaiting Governor Greg Abbott’s signature.
“During the last legislative session, SB1 was created to have the state set some of the school tax rates instead of the local school board,” Richards said. “Earlier in the year, during the regular legislative session, there was a little discussion that the legislature was trying to withdraw some of the balance of funds from public schools. The legislator was upset because some schools have a large fund balance. There has been talk of only allowing three months of operating expenses in our fund balance. It looks like they want to increase the Homestead exemption to $40,000. I don’t have all the details.”
Both solar energy projects would benefit from the school tax abatement for wind energy companies, and money would be sent to school boards as taxes.
“The council has approved the reduction, and the projects must be approved by the state comptroller,” Richards said. “If they are approved by the comptroller, the company must decide to go ahead and build it.
“There are two solar sites southwest of town, and one of them is actually shared between Springlake Schools – Earth and Muleshoe. Springlake-Earth would receive part of the money, and we would have the other part. The board is still considering how we would use these resources. Some would be used on construction projects.