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Monday, August 10, 2009

Statement on proposed auditorium and professional development center

Mansfield ISD is considering moving forward with the construction of the Performing Arts Auditorium/Teacher Professional Development Center. I will be providing information as to why the administration is proposing to move this project forward at this time. The Performing Arts Auditorium has been under consideration for more than five years. In that time, the district has reviewed auditorium designs ranging from a seating capacity of 3500 to 5000. The project was not included in prior bond programs due to the cost, the fast growth of the district and the need for schools.

The facility
The current design being considered will accommodate 5500 people with an additional 500 on the stage. This would allow for a seating capacity of 6000 to accommodate our four high school graduations. Our current graduations are located at The Potter’s House in Dallas County. In addition to graduations, the facility would allow all district employees to be trained at one time. In preparation for a time when a performing arts auditorium might be built, the district purchased 25 acres directly behind Ben Barber Career Tech Academy. This location was chosen due to the available parking that could be used when the Performing Arts Auditorium hosted large events.

Other uses for the auditorium would include:
  • A location for high school performing arts departments' musicals and other large stage productions. (Mansfield ISD has one auditorium that is being used by 14 secondary campuses, including four high schools.);
  • 5th-12th grade band and choir performances;
  • Host UIL band competitions and competitive cheer events;
  • Outside group use for a rental fee
The Teacher Professional Development section of the facility would allow all teacher trainings in the district to occur in one location. The main feature of the design is one large room that can accommodate up to 500, but can also be divided into six separate rooms for training. This large professional development room could host other events that are currently being housed outside the district. The Education Foundation’s annual Academic Recognition Banquet could be hosted there as well as booster club organization and local PTA events. The Teacher Professional Development Center also features three computer-training rooms that will be used by our teachers. Current teacher training on computers must take place at our schools in student computer labs.

Finance considerations
I have provided an explanation of the need of an additional auditorium/training center, so now I will discuss the cost and source of construction funding. The district just recently signed the contract on the construction of high school five at a cost of $60 million. In the 2006 bond election, voters approved the high school five facility at a projected cost of $84 million. These estimates were based upon construction costs and the rate of inflation. The district decided over a year ago to delay the construction of high school five for one year due to a decrease in student growth. In that year, the economy slowed and construction costs fell. Therefore, the district was able to save $24 million in the construction of high school five.

The administration began to explore additional construction projects. The current proposal was deemed as the highest need in the district. The reason we are looking to move this project forward now is to take advantage of the current construction market. To provide a comparison, the 2005 estimate for a performing arts auditorium that only seated 5000 and didn’t have a 24,000 square foot teacher training facility was placed at $50 million.

The projected cost of the proposed Performing Arts Auditorium/Teacher Professional Development Center is $39 million. This is $11 million less than the smaller 2005 proposed auditorium which didn’t have a Teacher Professional Development Center. If we were to add the cost of the 24,000 square foot training center to the 2005 proposal, it would have added an additional $5 million to the construction costs. Therefore, the current proposal is between $15 and $16 million less than it would have been if built in 2005.

The cost of the current facility is $39 million. The construction savings of high school five totaled $24 million. The additional $15 million needed to build the facility will come from previous bond packages. The interest gathered during the duration of the bond as well as other sources such as new gas well revenues could be used to offset the additional cost. This is not the first time the district has proposed building a facility that was not on a bond program. In the 2001 bond program, the district was able to secure enough funds from savings on construction projects and interest earnings to build an additional elementary school. In the 1999 bond program, the district renovated the Historic High School building with interest earnings.

Why now?
The reason is simple. Current construction costs are allowing a window of opportunity. This opportunity, if taken, will not only help every student in our performing arts programs, but graduations to take place in district. The auditorium and training rooms will be used by our Mansfield ISD community. The room that can hold up to 500 can be used for banquets as well as school board meetings. The advantage of moving school board meetings to this location will allow the district to take the current board room and use it some day as additional staff offices. This will enable our administration buildings to accommodate district growth for many years.

The reason for providing this message is to get the information out to our patrons. I want everything we do to be transparent. Please feel free to comment on the proposal. If you have any additional questions, post your questions to the blog and I will make sure an answer is provided. There are two upcoming school board meetings that provide opportunities for public feedback. Those school board meetings are at 7:00 P.M. on Tuesday, August 25 and September 22.


Bob Morrison, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools

Updated AUGUST 21, 2009: Based on questions raised by comments, Dr. Morrison has provided the below answers. Questions were reworded to represent multiple comments.

First, I would like to thank everyone for offering his or her comments and questions. It has been great to see the discussion and interest in this project. Feel free to post any additional comments and questions below.

Dr. Morrison

Q: Why do we need a fifth high school, or any of these additional facilities?
A: Mansfield ISD will have over 31,000 students this year and a total of four high schools. Our current high school populations total 9,159 students. High schools in Mansfield ISD are built to support 2,500 students. Other districts do build high schools that are larger and/or smaller than ours, but our standard has been set at 2,500. If Legacy HS would not have been built, the three remaining high schools would currently support approximately 3,053 students. When high school five is scheduled to open, our four current high schools are projected to be over their capacity of 2,500.

Q: Does the district consider increased maintenance cost when approving facility construction?
A: Yes, increased maintenance costs and staffing are part of any building proposal.

Q: What about the inequities between existing schools, especially related to technology?
A: The school board approved this summer to update all the technology throughout the school district beginning with the older schools. There are 16 schools that have been targeted with the recabling project. Summit HS, as well as 15 other schools, will be completely rewired to allow for a fast and reliable Internet connection. Testing of the cabling at these schools will begin the first week of school. Cable that does not meet industry standards for performance will be replaced.

Technology upgrades are a very high priority for the district. For example, we are adding a fourth rotation to our elementary schools for technology. Keyboarding has also been moved to the fifth grade so that students can use this skill throughout their secondary years. Additional course offerings will also be offered to students in 6-8 grades in the future.

Q: Why does the proposed facility have 6,000 seats? If the facility is mainly that large to support graduation, why not just hold graduation at Vernon Newsom Stadium?
A: The size of this facility is directly related to graduations and the ability to provide a location where all staff could meet for professional development. Each year, we struggle to secure a location that is big enough to house our high school graduation ceremonies. It is true that Newsom Stadium is more than sufficient to hold graduation, but the common concern is the temperature and unpredictability of the weather in Texas in June.

Q: How will Arlington and Grand Prairie residents feel about building a facility designed for usage by the City of Mansfield?
A: There are no current agreements for any particular city to have special usage of the facility. If it should be built, any organization (including city, county and state groups) will be able to use the facility if they are willing to pay a rental fee and meet our requirements. Any rumor about special consideration for the City of Mansfield is a rumor.

Q: Why are we interested in a professional development facility, especially considering all other needs of the district?
A: The reasoning behind the professional development center is clear. The district needs a place to provide our teachers the necessary training to meet the academic needs of our students. We currently train our teachers and staff at locations throughout the district. No available meeting room can currently seat over 100 staff members. The new facility would be able to seat up to 500 staff members for a training session or meeting.

Q: Will the professional development facility be utilized for banquets and special events?
A: The facility includes a kitchen that will be able to support catering needs for up to 500 people. District events that are currently held in other rented spaces would be able to make a home at the center, like an Education Foundation banquet or a Booster Club meeting, for example. The rental fee for district-related groups would be equivalent to current fees, which cover utility and cleaning costs.

Q: With the state of the economy, this facility seems like an unnecessary extravagance. Have you considered this point of view?
A: I do agree that the general economy is less than stellar, but the current state of the economy is actually responsible for our ability to fund this facility. Like our current school construction projects, I intend to continue the district’s record of building functional and durable facilities. I do also believe it is necessary to build structures that are points of pride for our school communities, but with a focus on getting the district a good value within a reasonable budget.


View the Conceptual Design Presentation of the Performing Arts Auditorium/Teacher Professional Development Center. (Please note, this is a large file and may take longer to load at slower connection speeds.)

Updated SEPTEMBER 2, 2009: Please read the related post regarding the possible site location in coordination with the City of Mansfield.

Updated SEPTEMBER 24, 2009: At the September 22, 2009 Regular School Board Meeting, Board Trustees approved the construction of the performing arts auditorium and professional development center by a 6-0 vote.


Bill Tillotson said...

I personally feel this facility is long overdue. The MISD has needed this facility for several years now. And with additional schools opening, the demand on Willie Pigg will only become worse.

The MISD will also not have a chance to build this facility for this low an amount of money ever again. Construction material prices are at historic lows and it is prudent to take advantage of the situation.

And finally, the taxpayers are not taking on any more additional indebtedness than what they already agreed to in the 2006 bond election - in fact, it is projected to still be slightly less than forecasted.

Kudos to the MISD leadership for moving forward with this idea. Here is hoping that our school board can see the wisdom in this move and approve moving forward.

Anonymous said...

It's about time! Having moved here 6 years ago from the Central Texas area, my family was surprised that a school district the size of MISD did NOT have such a facility already in place besides the older Willie Pigg auditorium. The school district we came from and surrounding school districts (Leander and Round Rock) both have Performing Arts Centers that meet the district and community needs. It seems like a win-win for the district, community and taxpayer to pursue the building of this center at this time. Thank you for the forward thinking and the vision!

Susan Hall

Anonymous said...

I think this is a wonderful idea. As a fine arts teacher for the district, I know how difficult it is to use Willie Pigg. It is outdated and not practical for performing groups. This new center would be huge asset to the distict.

Anonymous said...

This is great opportunity for MISD to build a multi-purpose facility! Please go forward with the plans. It would be a great benefit to MISD. Finally a facility to hold graduations, fine arts productions, staff development events, etc..A win win for all.

Anonymous said...

This facility is so badly needed for our growing district. Just the thought of not having to go to Potter's House for my three kids upcoming graduations is great!! Get the groundbreaking going so I can save time and aggravation by staying in Mansfield for my first to graduate in 2013!

Mary Ellen Burch said...

This is a great idea! MISD needs a place to hold their own graduation ceremonies. They will have others who would like to use these facilities too.... an opportunity to offset some of the costs involved with running the facilities.

Willie Pigg is an "ok" place to have concerts, but not really ideal. I have attended many concerts here.

HEB ISD has a Professional Development Center and I have always thought it was a great addition to their district. It makes me think that HEB ISD must really value their teachers since they were willing to give them such a nice place to meet, one they can call their own. I have been to meetings in the HEB facilities and I have been impressed. I would LOVE for Mansfield (my home town) to own such a place of their own. I also see this as another opportunity for outside sources to come to us to lease our facilities.

I hope this new facility will come with a large kitchen and a staff who can cater events and meetings too.

I love this idea for this new facility and think it can only be an asset for the MISD.

Anonymous said...

The time is now for the project. I cannot think of any reason not to go forward with it. This is much more exciting than the 5th high school! I feel so very fortunate to be a teacher in this district!

Anonymous said...

Absolutely wonderful! As a district with tremendous growth and the emphasis on training and modernization, this is long over due.

Anonymous said...

Not to knock fine-arts and the wonderful activities they do, but there is a need for updates of current buildings rather than continuing to build new ones. We don't need a 5th high school. We didn't need a 4th high school. The bonds for those schools could have easily been used to update and upgrade existing facilities that need it instead of wasting money on frivolous schools.

I come from a town of 55k (similar to Mansfield) that has one high school to meet the needs of everyone. It is also one of the most recognized campuses in the state of Illinois. You can look at Arlington which has a population of over 350k that has 6 high schools. Something is out of whack.

Not only with new buildings being built do I consider a waste of money, you have the maintenance costs associated with maintaining all buildings. Our maintenance staff is overstressed as it is. Adding another building will make the current service, which isn't very good, even worse.

Does anyone ever think about things like this when considering a new building? And what about the inequalities between schools? You have Legacy (as an example between high schools) which has the latest and most up to date facilities, items and technology, but then there's Summit which is the oldest of all high schools and has never been upgraded for facilities, technology, anything.

I think people need to reconsider when voting on this kind of proposed building (I'm not saying we don't need it, I'm saying we need to take care of the buildings we already have).

Anonymous said...

I think this is the wrong time to build such an extravagant performance hall. For a little context Bass Hall only seats 2056. The problem is is that the "angry mob" story line going on in the news today is not just a made up concept. People really are mad at all the government spending and misinformation. It's not just about health care. Our school administration seems to be forgetting what is going on in the rest of the country. Our deficit is out of control and our treasury printing presses are printing around the clock. Can anyone say inflation? Tax revenues to the federal gov are down 17%. Our House passed a cap and trade bill that if it passes in the Senate will , as our president said ,cause our energy bills to skyrocket. This performance hall will have air conditioning bills too.

I have been a band parent for over 7 years. I do agree that we could use another auditorium, but in all my time as a band parent I have never seen Willie Pigg full. One point I have heard is that the new Mansfield theatre arts group has to go to Kennedale for it's plays. However their hall seats 1,064 and only cost 5 million. Why not build something like that. Seat 1,065 if you need to feel special. We don't need our kids playing to a cavernous hall or one that needs to be partitiond off. Besides that how will this expenditure affect other fine arts expenditures- thingsd like instruments, busing for competitions, etc that have a direct affect on our students.

As for graduations I know we spend 53,000 now to rent Potter's House, but like I said how much will it cost to maintain this complex. 37 million is A LOT to spend to avoid a trip to Dallas. In the old days we had our graduations in the football stadium. (It's too bad we don't have a nice one of those.)

Another point made is how this facility could be rented out to the city. I thought their vision plan included three theatres 350, 750 and 2,000 seats. Not one this big. How will our Arlingtom residents feel supporting a facility to be partially used by the Mansfield city? Could this feed into voter backlash with that part of our school community?

As for teacher training would they prefer a huge rally hall or the support of the public in future school funding elections? This building could be coming on line at a time when housing prices are bad, taxes are being raised, and inflation hits. This could be a symbol like congress ordering 8 luxery jets at a time when the criticize to public for doing the same that turns the public against this school administration. I don't think anyone wants that. This administration needs to remember that it's the kids and teachers that matter most not an auditorium on steroids. I would hate to see a backlash down the road, but it could be a very real possibility.

Anonymous said...

In a way I agree with the 6:04 am comment. I think the new facility would be good but then again; if you think about it, some of the current buildings that MISD has need to be "cleaned up".

In the short time I have been a part of MISD I am shocked to see what some of the buildings look like. I agree, this new facility will be a great thing when it comes to graduation, fine arts performances and even board meetings. Plus, having students graduate in the City of Mansfield will save the district money.

Another perspective of this proposal would be to upgrade/add to some campuses (i.e. Summit; the old MHS building). I came from a district with only one High School. Dont get me wrong, this district is MUCH smaller, but they took that one high school/auditorium and COMPLETELY upgraded, added to, cleaned up (you name it). I still believe it was a GREAT investment for that district. (I dont believe it is big enough to hold graduations, so that is one downfall)

I agree with the proposal of the new facility but you may want to take into consideration the status of some of the older campuses/buildings in the district before spending $39million on a new facility.

Anonymous said...

In response to the last post, you have to remember that MISD also serves students from Arlington and Grand Prairie. Although the town has 55,000, the district serves close to 30,000. A district of 30,000 is the same size as my former district, which had 4 5A high schools.

I think now is the time to build this facility with the cost of construction being so reasonable. I love the idea of having in house graduations, and an in house professional development facility. These are the features that keep great teachers in the district!

I may be mistaken; please correct me if I am wrong, but this money has to be used for construction, and cannot be used to update technology, etc.

Anonymous said...

I think it is a great idea and long overdue as well. As for the people against it, nobody had any problems with our extravagant new football stadium. A designated Fine Arts facility is long overdue and needed just as much.
My only concern is this, what with the fifth high school being pushed out, what if that contract goes over as the economy is going to recover at some point. Have provisions been made so there isn't a shortfall in the building of that high school? Finally, how about overages with the new Fine Arts facility? Just food for thought.

Anonymous said...

I think my biggest frustration with this proposal is we have a wonderful opportunity with construction costs being at a low to create equity across the district when it comes to facilities and the district is jumping towards building a new facility instead. I think that district officials and school board members should take a tour of Ponder Elementary, Tarver Rendon Elementary, Worley Middle School, Wester Middle School to start with to consider the major renovations to these buildings that need to be taken. Many of these classrooms still have chalkboards, termites and rodents, and smells. It is my understanding that bond money is able to be used for renovations. Working in another rapidly growing district prior to MISD, I appreciated the fact that the superientendent wanted every child in the entire school district to have the same educational experience and started with facilities to reach his goal, therefore they began by renovating the oldest campuses to be comparable to a new ones. As a parent, a teacher, and a taxpayer, I truly appreciated this foresight. I am disappointed that Mansfield is not making this a priority when there is a financial opportunity.

Anonymous said...

I always think it is interesting to read the posted comments. Especially the negative ones. I don't remember any negative comments when the proposal for the sports complex was posted. Could the reason be that fine arts will never have the respect of football, or any sport? What's sad about this truth is that the band that wins state will never be as publisized as the football team that has the same accomplishment. State choir champions will never have their accomplishment painted on the side of a water tower. So for the sake of the fine arts students, teachers, parents, and the entire district that will gain the rewards of using this facility for training and performance I say two thumbs up to MISD! And a special thanks to whoever thought it was time. It is time!

KM said...

As a fine arts teacher in the district I am very excited for the possibilities of this district facility. I believe that this is the perfect time for a space like this. After looking at the layout of the space very carefully it is clear that the facility is not only friendly use for choir, band, theatre, and district meetings but also large enough for graduation, and quite smartly constructed. It can be used for staff development and other meetings, banquets and things of that nature. At some point we have to accept that the district is going to continue to grow. It is nice to see us taking an active roll in our expansion. Building a district is not only the skill of knowing when to build more schools, but knowing when to build all the things that make MISD what it has become, one of the best districts in this area. So why should we support this Fine Arts Facility? Because it is time. It is also nice, as a fine arts teacher to see the district supporting the arts. I hope the wonderful pictures turn into a reality during my career at MISD.

Anonymous said...

First, let me say this is a NEEDED facility in a district the size of MISD. I personally do not agree with the travel involved for graduation and/or prom. Could this facility be used for high school proms? If so, that is an additional benefit.

However, I do have one big concern and that is that we MUST address the technology needs of teachers within the distict before we move forward with any "extras". It is crazy that in a district this size, with the resources that should be available and well-managed, teachers are still using overhead projectors and in some cases, chalk boards. It often seems that our elementary and intermediate schools are far more technologically advanced than our high schools. Every high school classroom should at least have the technology resources that are available at the intermediate level.

Minnie Mason, President, Legacy Bronco Band Boosters said...

By a unanimous vote on August 17, 2009, the Legacy Bronco Band Boosters (LBBB) organization endorsed the proposed plans for a new MISD Performing Arts Auditorium/Teacher Professional Development Center.
The LBBB believes this facility is long overdue as existing facilities are booked solid during busy times of the year. With the additional schools opening, the demand on Willie Pigg Auditorium for concerts, plays and recitals will only become worse.

We also believe the MISD will not have a chance to build this facility for this low an amount of money ever again. Construction material prices are at historic lows and it is prudent to take advantage of the situation.

Finally, the LBBB notes that the taxpayers are not taking on any more additional indebtedness than what they already agreed to in the 2006 bond election - in fact; it is projected to still be slightly less than forecasted.

Kudos to the MISD Leadership for moving forward with this idea. The LBBB endorses this idea and encourages the members of the MISD school board to approve moving forward with this concept.

Minnie Mason
President, Legacy Bronco Band Boosters

Anonymous said...

I would personally recommend addressing some of the older schools in Mansfield ISD that need attention. Alice Ponder is a good example. While the halls have been freshly painted the rooms still remain neglected. This includes outdated computers, material, and technology. Let’s not forget about those schools and their needs as well.

Anonymous said...

I am not opposed to a Fine Arts facility. My children are younger and still at the elementary school level so they would not benefit from that facility for many years to come. I know that bonds are approved for specific actions however, I wish it was possible for this overage to be used where it is most immediately necessary. Our school does not have enough paper to make it through each school year. We do not have enough leveled readers for each child to take one home everyday. We are far from having a full library. Our technology department is lacking. In my opinion, these items are a necessity to the education of our children and as parents/taxpayers, we are asked every year to donate these items or money to cover these items. Our tax dollars should be doing that.

Anonymous said...

After reading and carefully considering all the teachers who have posted and the whole two individuals who said what I’m sure the majority of people are thinking, I submit the following for your consideration.
• What is up with this keep up with the Jones ISD mentality, folks we have student attending class in trailers in this school district and you want to spend OUR money on a building that is going to sit empty 99% of the time, sounds more like a status symbol than money well spent .
• Potters House is ideally suited for the graduation and it would take aprox 550 years renting that to equal the amount of money we’d spend on this project.
• Yes we need the professional development spaces and a larger auditorium but I think those can be designed into the new high school already planned for construction.
• Groups like the band boosters, girl scouts, and numerous churches use our facilities now for no rental fee at all, but because this is a purpose built (read expensive) facility we are going to start charging them rent?
• Everyone knows how bad traffic can get at Ben Barber when class lets out, so just imagine for a moment what that’s going to look like. Potters House is sitting on a major highway serviced by a 4 lane road and it still sucks trying to get out of there, what’s Debbie lane and old 287 going to be like.
Just a note to those who see the disparity of the attitudes concerning the Stadium and the prospect of a fine arts building, kind of a shame that we have to cram so many uses into a facility to try and get something to use for the arts when nothing is more single purpose that the stadium, not much you can say to justify that except Hey you’re in Texas.
Bottom line is I still like the idea of having the building, hey I’m as vain as the next guy and I’m damn proud of our school district, no matter how much I bitch about it. Sadly I will spend many moments wondering why the kids have to pay all these fees and scrape for equipment I feel they should have but don’t and it will be easy to point to that building and say “See why you have some of the highest taxes in the state”, or “see why your school doesn’t have cars so you can take driver training”. Yes I know this is a bond and not a tax increase, very little difference to the working man though, I suppose we’ll need some more staff to manage the place, also I didn’t hear anything about using this building for administrative spaces, wasn’t there talk of that at one time?
Feel free to light me up on any mistakes I made in my generalizations, I make no scholarly claims and I wouldn’t be anonymous if I had anyone proof read this.

Anonymous said...

District needs to spend money equalizing the facilities in our District. Many, many are old and in need of updates to compare to our new, beautiful buildings. No way does Wester/Worley/Howard compare to any of our other middle schools. Spend the money this way!

Anonymous said...

The district needs to look at the individual needs of every school. Before using tax payer approved money, on what an earlier poster said perfectly, on what will be a building that sits empty 99% of the year please do what you strive to teach our chldren: think before you act. Why foolishly spend money on something sorely not necessary to the EDUCATION of our children. Will this building improve the test scores our district so dearly prides itself on? Will it provide needed supplies such as copy paper, text books, library books, or p.e/art/music equipment? No it will not. Our principal came to the PTA with hand out for "necessities" that the district refuses to provide our students.
As parents who have had to continuously re-supply our child's classrooms the past 5 years, we ask the school board and district to reconsider and put the educational well-being of students first instead of sports or status.

Anonymous said...

I was always amazed that any school district like MISD did not have a near-professional quality stage for use by the high schools. However, I strongly encourage MISD to also spend available funds on badly needed expansion of existing facilities. For example, the entire 4th grade at Boren Elementary (which school is now 30 years old) is in "portables"! Portables were never supposed to be permanent facilities!

Anonymous said...

Wednesday night Willie Pigg auditorium was almost full for probably one of the only times. The reason was a town hall meeting with our congressman Joe Barton. I have been to his meetings before. Usually around 50 attend. This time the number was closer to 1,000. I recall one dissenting voice. The vast majority were there to display their disgust with government. Healthcare was a main reason, but comments about things like government's overreaching role and too much spending got standing ovations. People are upset like never before. I hope our Mansfield school board members and administration took note. Excessive spending is not popular right now and as our economy struggles under the future of looming trillion dollar deficits I'd bet it doesn't get any more popular. Keep in mind this building has to be maintained later. There will be costs that could rival the costs to rent Potter's House. I'm sure the school board will be telling us what they are Tuesday night- including the increased energy costs as our country seeks to regulate carbon emmissions. I fear a backlash later if the school board wants to raise taxes for operations or raises.

Communications Department said...

Thank you all for these thoughtful comments for and against the proposed facility. Please be sure to read the updated post with a number of answers to some common questions we have been hearing via comments and out in the public.

Below are a few:

Q: What about the inequities between existing schools, especially related to technology?
A: The school board approved this summer to update all the technology throughout the school district beginning with the older schools. There are 16 schools that have been targeted with the recabling project. Summit HS, as well as 15 other schools, will be completely rewired to allow for a fast and reliable Internet connection. Testing of the cabling at these schools will begin the first week of school. Cable that does not meet industry standards for performance will be replaced.

Technology upgrades are a very high priority for the district. For example, we are adding a fourth rotation to our elementary schools for technology. Keyboarding has also been moved to the fifth grade so that students can use this skill throughout their secondary years. Additional course offerings will also be offered to students in 6-8 grades in the future.

Q: Why does the proposed facility have 6,000 seats? If the facility is mainly that large to support graduation, why not just hold graduation at Vernon Newsom Stadium?
A: The size of this facility is directly related to graduations and the ability to provide a location where all staff could meet for professional development. Each year, we struggle to secure a location that is big enough to house our high school graduation ceremonies. It is true that Newsom Stadium is more than sufficient to hold graduation, but the common concern is the temperature and unpredictability of the weather in Texas in June.

Q: Does the district consider increased maintenance cost when approving facility construction?
A: Yes, increased maintenance costs and staffing are part of any building proposal.
Be sure to read the rest of the Q&A added to the post above and thank you again for sharing your thoughts.

Doug Brubaker, Assistant Superintendent for Technology and Information Services said...

This is a great opportunity to share information about technology upgrades that are in the pipeline for MISD.

In June, the Board approved approximately $6.7 million in technology upgrades using the district's revenues from natural gas leases. Budget amendments were approved for the first $3.7 million of these projects.

Areas of focus for 2009-2010 include testing -- and replacing as needed -- any deteriorated cable at 16 of the district's schools that were constructed prior to 2000, installation of Microsoft Office on all K-8 teacher workstations and student lab computers (completed summer 2009), replacement of up to 1500 desktop computers for use by teachers and in student computer labs, and replacement of out-of-warrany or non-enterprise class switches. (A network switch is a computer networking device that connects network segments. Approximately 66% of all district network switches are out of warranty or were not designed for an organization of MISD’s size.)

Replacing the switches will permit the Department of Technology Development to provide more reliable services to end users and quicker responses to classroom needs.

Other projects planned for the next 18-24 months with these funds include a desktop virtualization pilot, installation of wireless access points for instructional areas at all campuses, telephone upgrades, two additional phases of desktop replacements to address needs at remaining campuses, and the deployment of up to 400 presentation carts and interactive slates.

Improvement of customer service is also a focus for the new Department of Technology Development. Four additional support techs have been added to our team, and a new work flow management system will enable our group to document and address campus needs more efficiently. Other funds were used for these improvements.

Our team is very excited about the equipment and services that we will be able to provide in the coming months to support instruction at all MISD schools.

Anonymous said...

Last year was the first year the district did not provide transportationto the state solo and ensemble contest for our high school band students who may have qualified. Many did not even try out because they knew they did not have a way to get to Austin if they made it. At least they will be able to play for their parents in an overpriced partitioned off auditorium.

Anonymous said...

As a teacher in the district that just spent half of a day this past week receiving training on technology that I do not even have on my campus, I think the argument that this facility will be used to train teachers in meeting the academic needs of the students, is a joke! If MISD wants to improve math and science scores at the high school level, then that is where the money needs to be focused, not on a building for fine arts performances. As mentioned in previous posts, Willie Pigg has NEVER been over capacity for such an event.

Anonymous said...

I agree that we need another venue for our kids to perform in, besides Willie Pigg. However, with so many schools competing for performance nights, I do not think that only one additional auditorium is enough to handle the entire district. Yes, it would be nice for graduations, but a more functional & practical option, might be to create 2 or 3 auditoriums or varying sizes, within the same building, so that multiple groups could use it at the same time.

Anonymous said...

We moved to the Mansfield ISD area 11 years ago and since that time have seen so many schools go up that I have lost count. That was a good thing for a while. The economy was booming, housing was going up so fast the schools could not keep up. That has changed. I have two children who have gone through MISD (both of whom graduated at Potters House)and one who is still attending. That being said, the addition of this auditorium/teacher training facility is not something I want to see my hard earned money spent on. I would rather see the bond money go to updating/upgrading and expanding any school that is older than 8-10 years old. That would include elementary schools, intermediate & middle schools and a high school. Summit High School has plenty of room for expansion. The parking lot they have in the back now is barely utilized by students. There aren't enough students driving to fill all the rows directly behind the school much less the parking lot to the east of the football field. There were portables at Summit in 2002 and they are still there. I don't understand why a district would spend the kind of money they will have to spend on this facility instead of improving the schools they already have. Makes no sense but then MISD hasn't made a lot of sense to me with the things that has been done in the past couple of years.

Anonymous said...

It may be true that Willie Pigg is not seated to capacity during performances, but it is true that only a fraction of performing groups are able to perform at Willie Pigg because there are not enough dates available. I don't think any performing arts teacher would argue that a smaller venue will work, but another venue is most definitely needed.

Anonymous said...

I completely support the idea to add a building that will serve so many functions in the district. I think that this is a perfect time to take advantage of the low-cost construction, especially given the fact that Mansfield ISD has been so responsible in handling their finances. It makes perfect sense to use our resources to bring Mansfield up to the unwritten "standards" of a GREAT school district. My only reservation is posed more as a question. I currently teach at an older Mansfield school. Actually, a VERY OLD Mansfield school. We are busting at the seams, adding units to grade levels every year. If we continue to grow this way, we will outgrow our building in 2 years (according to my "calculations"). In addition, our school has...umm...issues. Issues such as termites and a seemingly unidentifiable mold :)Our toilet-to-student ratio is really quite laughable. I'm pretty sure that the replacement of our school is not in the projection for several more years. Was this in any way a consideration when determining how additional money will be spent?
Again, I am ALL FOR a Performing Arts Center/Prof. Development Center. We NEED it! I just know first hand that there are kids who need a place to learn (and potty :) If it were a matter of importance, I'm sure we'd all agree that a child's ability to learn in a safe environment trumps an auditorium. However, my understanding of where the money comes from and how we use it is very minimal so I fully trust the administration to handle that issue. I'll stick to my 24 first graders (yeah, I mentioned busting at the seams, right?)

Anonymous said...

I would love to see a state of the art theater facility here in our district, BUT NOT UNTIL every portable classroom been removed from our school campuses. Why do we have students spending their entire day in trailers when we are such an affluent and blessed community? Housing students in portable classrooms is a safety issue during severe storms and "lockdown" situations, a comfort issue when students have to endure their day in rain-soaked clothing on cold days, an inventory issue when you study the amount of "portable" property lost this summer to vandalism and burglary and an education issue when you consider the comparable lack of technology available in portable classrooms as compared to in-campus rooms. Let's focus more on "being good" than just "looking good"; let's provide our students with a safe and comfortable environment that promotes optimal learning opportunities.

Thanks for letting the citizens of Mansfield have a voice in this.

Anonymous said...

There are many studies that demonstrate the positive impact on students engaged in the Fine Arts. I agree that it is about time for Mansfield to have a Performing Arts Center to meet the needs of both a growing school district and a thriving community. It would be a shame to not take advantage of the opportunity to build this facility while the finances are so favorable.

Anonymous said...

As a long time tax paying MISD parent and teacher, I am so disappointed that the extra bond funds are being proposed for a NEW facility when there are so many OLD schools that would benefit greatly from these funds. Even with technology being addressed separately, the facility issues at some of our older schools are embarrassing for a town that is considered one of the best places to live. Fix what is broken first, then address the wish list items.

Anonymous said...

Just curious why there has not been comment on the City of Mansfield's overture to collaborate on creating a dual use building? It has already been disclosed that the bond money available will not cover the total cost of construction. What is the logic of not considering shared construction and use?

Anonymous said...

Middle schools need a place where they have access to a theater for performing arts. We always have to wait and see what the high school is doing. Also, Wester has no theater available to them for performances. Don't forget our middle schools.

Julie Roland said...

I only wish the construction would not take so long. A facility of this nature is a must if we wish progress for our children and our community. The facility will only accentuate our school system and community as a whole. We need to embrace this idea and support it whole-heartedly. Yes, there may be other areas that need focus in the school system, but we can take each one step at a time. The time is right to build and I believe the school board has considered all options very carefully to come up with the most beneficial solution for everyone.

Communications Department said...

Regarding the comment referring to the City of Mansfield:

"There is no agreement with the City of Mansfield or any other group to share any cost on the construction or use of the facility. As previously stated, any organization outside Mansfield ISD will be able to rent the facility if they meet the requirements of the lease agreement. The developers of The Shops at Broad want us to consider moving the facility. The Facility will remain 100% the property of Mansfield ISD."

- Dr. Bob Morrison

Anonymous said...

Let me get this straight, the taxpayers should sink tens of millions of $ into ANOTHER MISD building that can be used for periodic teacher training sessions and a once a year graduation ceremony?? How about MISD just continue to rent facilities when they need them? My property taxes are already 35% of my mortgage costs. I fully support public education but something is wrong when every new school looks like a 4-star hotel and the sports complexes look like they should be at a university, not a public high school. How many of the 6000 seats in this monstosity would be filled during an average year? If there is such a need for this thing it should be self supporting - show the taxpayers how it can be rented out to private organizations to cover the costs. This thing should be shelved permanently.

Anonymous said...

The business case for the performing arts center seems to be "we have money left over from other projects so lets spend it!". How about MISD show some financial restraint and NOT spend some theoretical extra money. They claim that they will "save" $24 million on the 5th high school by not spending the $24 million on its construction. The first thing to consider is that MISD doesn't actually have the $24 million in cash; it is a line of credit that is public debt. The second point is that the 5th high school has not been constructed and therefore the true final cost is not known. I'll be very happy if they actually build it for $60m but gov't projects usually run over budget.

If I don't charge a $5000 TV today onto my credit card did I actually "save" $5k? No, the $5k won't show up as an asset in my savings account. It is just $5k in debt (not including interest) that I didn't incur.

The MISD school board and administration should also read the business section of the newspaper. Unemployment is increasing and home values are falling, both of which impact public revenue negatively. This would be a very good time to decrease spending accordingly. The cost of a building is not simply its construction cost. There are numerous reoccuring costs - insurance, maintenance, utilities, staffing, etc. This will only increase the annual costs of MISD. Just say no to this white elephant.

Anonymous said...

Alrighty folks. I am a senior at Summit. And let me just say that comparing a football stadium to a performing arts center is completely rediculous! I was in theatre and I have been involved in football. Have you seen how many kids show up to theatre shows? Not many. I mean not even enough to fill up half of the aduitorium. And yes of course we needed the stadium because kids actually go to football games! Why? Well let's just say that there is more to do than sit quietly or make out, which is about all you can do at a theatre show (and I like theatre)!!! Football is interactive which is why it will always get bigger crowds than the fine arts! People need to suck it up and quit whining about it! So people who keep saying "we bought a stadium so we need a fine arts building" are really ignorant. No we do not need a fine arts building because no would go to the fine arts building for musicals and such. Graduation is the ONLY thing it would be used for. And its not a terrible thing that we have to go to the Potter's House. Heaven forbid we can't fit all of the staff in the same building! Oh my word we can't even fit all the students in one building to learn, why are we complaining about not being able to fit all the staff in a building to train? To my knowledge there is not a plethora of training days in the year that are a neccesity. We can rent that good ole Potter's House again and wa la, fit everyone. So quit crying about how things aren't equal! Life obviously isn't fair or the kids who live right by summit wouldn't have to drive 15 minutes to a school that is obviously out of the way! Please consider that we have to fundraise for new uniforms. Hello, use those millions of dollars to buy some cameras to see who is lighting the bathrooms on fire! It isn't rocket science really it isn't folks!

Anonymous said...

I think the performing arts center is a wonderful idea. As a parent and teacher in the district, I believe this will give our children more opportunities to expand in areas, such a performing arts. This will allow students to take leadership roles and could lead to outstanding performances which builds self-confidence within our children. I think it is a fantastic idea! I believe with a disctrict such as ours- growing at an incredible rate- we should give our students many opportunities in what may be a successful career path they take. I am very excited about this possiblity. With children in elementary, this will definitely be something my children will have as an opportunity.

Anonymous said...

In the interest of fullest disclosure, I am an employee of this district, the parent of a graduate and two current students, and a taxpayer, as well. I moved to this place several years ago because of the schools, and armed with the full knowledge of the taxes I would be required to pay for that privilege.

I'm sure the Summit Senior's comments were well-intentioned, but they serve as a perfect example of why we need not only a fine arts facility in this district, but a broader fine arts program. It's not only for "musicals and such." This building could be one of the most used (second only to Newsom Stadium, of course) buildings in this district. Theater teachers like Kristi Cobern are putting on fabulous student productions every semester. Theater productions don't draw because they are not advertised enough, and that's not the fault of the teachers -- that's a budgetary/time constraint/available bodies issue. It's also an issue of apathy and a lack of cultural illiteracy. If you're missing the plays, you're missing a lot of quality (and inexpensive) entertainment. Our band directors are some of the most talented musicians (and patient teachers) in this state. If you've been to Willie Pigg in the last few years, you would understand why events there are not well attended. No amount of renovation will fix the issues with that facility.

The bigger issue to me is that this facility addresses an inequality among the extracurricular programs. This is not a "whining" issue. Athletics are well funded, advertised, and attended, and generate a decent amount of income. The fact that the staff has to use the gym at Legacy to see a speaker the week before the school year starts IS a problem. We would actually be able to hear the speaker in the new building, and the district would be able to get us all in one shift instead of two!! We teachers and administrators have many, many training days/meetings for which this proposed building is perfectly suited. How wonderful would it be to drive 15 minutes to this place as opposed to 45 to The Potter's House, where some in the audience behave inappropriately for a house of worship, anyway?

Summit senior, do us all a favor. Continue your education. Take some foreign language -- maybe French -- at university. It's not "wa la," it's "voila." Take some civics classes. Learn about civil liberties and privacy litigation, both currently and in the recent past. I hope you'll think about why cameras in the restrooms are a bad idea (would you like to use the restroom there?) and why addressing the issues that lead to fire in the restrooms is the answer to that problem.

Dr. Morrison, if you build it, they will come. Is this timing perfect? No, but when is it ever a perfect time to spend this kind of money?

I am 100% on board.

Anonymous said...

Honestly I have thoroughly enjoyed reading the variety of comments and reflections shared within the previous postings. I commend the administration for taking such a risky leap and purposely engaging the MISD community in such a dialog. You never know what 'anonymous' fingers will type, or what half truths or rumors will be put forth as fact because they were seen in print. We all must be good stewards of our words as well as our money since each will have a tremendous impact on our district and our children. As with any project or proposal there are always different perspectives that are to be represented… you gotta love free speech! That all being said, I am compelled to do more than just read the various opinions of the many interested parties, I too wish to voice (even if it is only typed) my ‘two cents worth’.

I am extremely excited about the prospect that our very own MISD is clawing its way out of our ‘somewhat dark ages’ with the numerous and diverse projects that it has undertaken in the past few years. And now with the possible addition of a multiuse complex that will allow for much need growth in our fine arts and staff development program areas, I can only say it is not about time, rather way passed. There is much discussion that seems to want to limit the facilities potential uses to one area or another, drawing up images of a shining golden building sitting in the field covered in cobwebs from lack of use. In reality, with the forethought that has been put into this complex the educational possibilities are endless.

The performing arts portion of the complex has the ability to serve our existing fine arts programs in any and all capacities that they are currently clamoring around our district to be able to provide within a given year. Unfortunately, what these programs are most often limited by at present is our current facilities. Studies and exploration in the different performing arts, full-scale presentations and complex performances, as well as high-level competitive arrangements are the very possibilities that a comprehensive complex like the one proposed will encourage and support. Simply stated, is the reason we don’t fill up Willie Pigg because Willie Pigg can’t handle things that would fill it up if offered? Just asking…

As for our ability to provide a comprehensive staff development program that is appropriately coordinated and that compliments the wide-ranging needs of our core curriculum (reading, math, science, & social studies), enrichment, and athletic educational programs, well currently the district simply can’t. The fact is that these efforts are currently forced to be fragmented with most workshops being scattered across the district, piecemealed together by the lack of adequate training facilities. Surely our students, our children, not to mention our teachers deserve better. This portion of the complex will be able to provide high quality training for all of MISD. Imagine how our children will thrive as they receive ever improving instruction from the dedicated MISD teachers and staff who have been able to be appropriately supported with staff development that is on-going, comprehensive, and targeted.

It isn’t very often that opportunities such as this come along and as the eloquent speaker Patricia Russell McCloud said, “If not us, then who? If not now, then when?” WE are the who and the time is NOW!

Anonymous said...

Why can't visual arts be part of this???

We're including all of the other art forms but the most obvious one. Why not studio space for working on art, and coming up with a way to include art shows and the like (senior shows, art competitions, critiques, etc) ?

Let's find a way to benefit ALL of the creative outlets for our students of the MISD.

Anonymous said...

I am reading all the comments from the teachers/parents/taxpayers/whatever's and I am in shock, if you folks would sit down and list the number of issues this new facility is going to solve you would plainly see that the list of existing issues needing the attention/money, that isn’t available yet anyway, is waaayyy longer. I’ve been to the PAC at Summit and the Willie Pigg auditorium more than I can count and I have yet to see either of them filled to capacity, and then to suggest it’s not full because of a lack of advertising?
You people drop your child off at a nice modern looking building and the kids walk straight out of it and into a trailer for their class, someone tell me what kind of a first rate school district this is again, I’ve been to the PTA meeting and the school board meeting and I’ve heard all about how beneficial and useful the portables are and I submit to you THEY ARE NOT PORTABLE! When was the last time one was moved?
Income is going DOWN taxes are going UP and all you can think of is “WOW what a great time to go in debt”. Hey board make the right decision, make the only decision, let’s remember why we are doing all this and make the decision that’s best for the kids, we are a public school system and educating the kids is not the most important goal it’s the only goal. Put the nice to have’s on the wish list and get back to the basics. Technology is where our efforts need to go why would you even consider building this monument to extravagance, I will guarantee all of you that we will have more students get engineering degrees than will attend performing arts schools, more business majors than pro sports players.
Now for the big question, the single most dangerous thing our kids will do in their young lives is drive a car, how much public money are we spending on preparing them for that? We have all kinds of public funded programs for drug and alcohol education, sex and health are mandated also, where’s the public education for what will take more of our kids lives than all the others combined?

Anonymous said...

I am a teacher and parent in Mansfield. My one comment about spending this "surplus" of bond money that is truly just a line of credit, not cash we have on had, is that I have been teaching in a portable (temporary) building for the last six years. Not only is it not portable, but it is not temporary and has been at my current school for the past 15 years. Perhaps we should fix what is broken first. Community members let the school board know your true feelings, don't let the bigwigs decide how they are going to spend the line of credit that you have extended to them. Our children should be able to have classes with floors that aren't broken, windows that aren't cracked and technology that does not included a archaic overhead projector. Where is the common sense?

Anonymous said...

I saw in the paper today that the Fine Arts facility is a go expected to start construction in March 2010. I guess this public forum did not really mean much nor did the opinions of those that expressed one because the Board had already decided what they were going to do!! Very discouraging to myself as well as my children that are not being supplied with what they need for their "great MISD education" on a daily basis. I guess I will have to continue to donate paper to the school every year so my children will have what they need to do daily assignments! Thanks MISD!

Communications Department said...

For clarification purposes to the Anonymous 12:45 pm comment: The Star-Telegram article noted that the school board is expected to consider the project and its location at the Sept. 22 meeting. No final decision has been made at this point.

The district provided the community with new information regarding the possible location if the facility is built in a new blog post on Wednesday, Possible Site Location for Proposed Auditorium and Professional Development Center.

Thank you for sharing your opinions and thoughts. It is our hope that you continue providing your thoughtful comments in this and other posts.

Mi'Shelle Zachry said...

I think this is a wonderful idea. Even if I do have to continue to supply paper...a reply to the 9/3 12:45 comment.

Fine arts is needed in our schools, and this will be so useful!

Also, we should not need to rent a church for graduations! This is right here, and we can have graduations on the weekend like we're suppose to!!

Anonymous said...

Although this comment does not have to do with the Fine Arts proposal, I wich to respond to Doug Brubaker's post on Aug 21 "...telephone upgrades...and the deployment of up to 400 presentation carts and interactive slates" I think it is important to mention that specifically which campus' will receive these is unclear. The intermediate school where my son attends has more technology available for instruction than the high school were my daughter attends across the street. While my son is exposed to technologically interactive lessons at the age of 11, my daughter, who will graduate in two years, has NEVER had such an experience. The most technology available at her high school campus is the use of on overhead calculator--and those have been around for about 15 years! We are sending our graduates out into the real-world without the finest educational opportunities.

And quite frankly, I don't care what kind of phone system the school district has, I want to know that the focus is in the CLASSROOM!

Anonymous said...

Anonymous on Sept. 2nd at 9:18 AM said they hoped there would be an outlet for Visual as well as Performing arts in the new building. I believe the lobby of the new facility would be a great place to treat as an art gallery. It needs to be decorated, so why not use our students' art projects and sculptures for that purpose.
With some forethought on the design end this could be an amazing opportunity!

Anonymous said...

Sounds like a great idea and facility. It's silly to send our graduating classes to Dallas each year, risking accidents along the way, when they can stay in Mansfield and keep our money here. I'm already looking forward to class plays, musicals, dance competitions etc. Mansfield needs a great auditorium to go along with our world class natatorium, stadium, athletic fields, parks etc. Mansfield continues to be THE PLACE to live for a great quality of life. Save money while we can and go ahead with the groundbreaking.

Anonymous said...

Great idea, long overdue. Two of our three children have graudated for high school in Manasfied. This is a city and school district on the move. You have our full support.

Anonymous said...

Stop Wasting Money, Because it's not yours. When the government propose something they never factor in the after cost. Wages, Utilities, and Maintenance. Keep ou Taxes low stop building un necessary Center and concentrate on real EDUCATION. Remember In the 2006 assessment, the U.S. ranked 35th out of 57 in mathematics and 29th out of 57 in science

Anonymous said...

This is long over due.
It's a win win situation for both the school district as well the City of Mansfield.
I have two daughters that are in the fine arts program at Mansfield and they work hard. I think it would be great to have a new facility to show their talents. The Peg will still be used but, since we (Mansfield) keep growing, we have to keep up with the times. We need more places for our kids to perform.
There are some school districts that have one up to 3 high schools and they have state of the art Fine Arts facilities. It's our turn.

Than in two years from now, we will be watching our kids walk across the stage graduating in Mansfield not Dallas.

Anonymous said...

I understand the need and rational for the new facility but I do question the priority. I strongly believe the district should focus on equality in technology and facility for every school. In terms of teacher training, focus should be placed on a district-wide effort to train teachers on the most effective teaching tools to increase students academic performance, standardized test scores (ACT, SAT, PSAT, TAKS). Even if that training has to take place at each individual campus, due to facility size. There are still many teachers who still struggle to use Infinite Campus to its full potential. Why is the focus on building more facilities when only one high school campus received "Recognized" status this year. I find it difficult to believe that teacher training is lacking because of facilities. Nor do I see evidence that fine arts is suffering because of lack of facilities. The MISD focus should be on student learning and providing students and teachers the tools to facilitate that most important goal. It seems students spend more time before and after school participating in perforiming fine arts and athletic activities than sharpening their academic skills. Spend that money on upgrades to facilities, teaching aids, technology, teaching training (in the present facilities), after-school academic programs (test prep, math,reading, writing and science skills enhancement). Please MISD lets work to make our campuses Exemplary, increase graduation rates, increase test scores, and college acceptance rates. I believe that these efforts will provide a better rate of return. I do appreciate that the District is offering the opportunity for community comment.

Anonymous said...

I have two kids going to school in Mansfield - both are in school bands. I'm amazed by the teachers, support and education given to our kids who want to have a music as part of their education experience.

It's been proven that music education goes hand-in-hand with better scores in math and other non-arts classes. All of our kids may not be music majors in college but all of them will benefit from their music education at Mansfield. This facility would simply be an extension of this school district's, and the community's, support of music education in Mansfield.

I think the other advantages that come along with having such a facility - teacher education, graduation facilities, etc - just make it that much more attractive.

You have my support and I hope to be sitting in the auditorium watching many performances and, hopefully, a couple of graduations in the coming years.

Anonymous said...

I agree with many of the comments indicating now is not the time to build this facility, even if it might be a "good deal." MISD does need a performing arts center, but this huge auditorium is not the answer.

Anonymous said...

There is confusion among the authors of some of these posts as to how money for CONSTRUCTION BONDS can be spent. I have seen posts that said, "I donate paper to my school... spend it for that." You cannot spend Bond money, by law, for school supplies like pencils and paper. Another person said we should use this money for after school education programs and for training the teachers (in their current facilities). Again, you can't legally spend construction bond money to pay for programs and salaries.

I have seen how much "the Pigg" is used and even if it is not filled to capacity every time its doors open, that doesn't mean that the programs that take place in it are not important. Drive past there almost any night between somewhere around the middle of November up until after the start of the new year and look at how many cars are there for programs. The building is in use practically every single day for two months straight. There are tons of moms, dads, grandmas and grandpas that want to see their young ones on stage. It doesn't matter whether every seat in the house is sold out or only the parents are there, that time on stage can be life-changing in a very positive way to the students who perform there. It also helps build family unity when the whole family comes out to see a child perform at an event and that's something we need more of these days.

Do we also need to upgrade some of our older schools like Alice Ponder or JL Boren? You bet. Do we need to upgrade our technology program so that all students have the same opportunities to learn? You bet. Even after we correct all these things, will we still have unmet needs? You bet. That's why I am glad we have a dedicated School Board staffed with people that really do care about the children AND the taxpaying public. They can wrestle with these weighty issues and help lead us in the direction that is best for all. That's why we elected them.

Thank you Dr. Morrison and thank you MISD School Board for your dedication to the needs of our students and our community as a whole. Y'all do great work for little thanks.

Anonymous said...

It seems like it would be a beautiful facility. However, I would like to also weigh or observe the other end of the scale and see if there are any negative points to building? Could the money go somewhere else more critical?Our economy is in very bad shape and could that money go to help in areas where the PTA has dropped off or are funds allotted only to building?With teachers only being allowed to have so many copies from the print machine and little resources can money go directly into classrooms?Or can money go to the lunch program on behalf of children who don't qualify for free lunch. Can the district put money on the food program?I just don't want to see our beautiful district began to turn into a "MEGA DISTRICT" like we have seen with the "MEGA CHURCH",,,,,,We end up with big beautiful buildings that really don't serve "people" and have very little purpose. I personlly need more information about the matter because with teachers being limited on printing materials it makes me wonder how in the world are we going to have a luxurious arts center? I do want the center but in class learning materials are far better. These children do not even bring home books so how can we fund a center? Can we fund some textbooks for the children to bring home?

Anonymous said...

Sept.9,4:45: You really hit the nail on the head! Look how easily alot of the posters have lost sight of what is most important and that is "EDUCATION."Your right the U.S. is so far behind in math and science that it's ridiculous.

I never thought about it until you posted your thoughts and made us come back down to reality and the reality is that money should go to math and science programs for our k-12 students and give them a hands on introduction to it because if we do not get our children up to speed in math & science, countries like China, Russia, Iran, India, and other places that are already not fond of us will be the power force in the world when our children grow up and that is very scary.

We need education and not pretty little dolls houses.We have to stay focused on what is more important and look at the future of our children's society when we are gone.

The U.S. does not have half of the brilliant inventors it once had. Where are our Edisons, Wrights, Ford's, Carvers, and the Madame Walkers? I think your right we need to take it own back to opening up these children's minds to math and science and inventorships.

We have these enormous schools here and if they can't march & graduate in one of these schools then we wasted our money.

Since, the kids & teachers are under such pressure to perform and pass these state test then why don't we invest the money in them?Because remember it is supposed to be all about them anyway.

And in closing, if you really want children to learn then introduce them to real musical instruments. Take some of that money and buy these kids some instruments and offer a Mansfield ISD run after school music program. It is a proven fact that children who play instruments do better in school.

Anonymous said...

August 30, 9:46: That is that another way to look at it : ) That's right they don't do that much group training to where they would need to spend 34 or 24 million on a building.My training program held for 10 days at the Arlington Convention Center and there was more than enough space and there were over 300 of us.

What's going to happen is the building will not be in use as often as anticipated, which means another opportunity that could have gone to fund teacher classrooms will go down the drain........I don't understand why administrators loose touch with what is "REALITY."

There are people pulling children out of our district all of the time & at our school there have been several who left because of the friction between our district administrators and parents who feel there children are not being treated fairly. We should fight hard to win those students and parents back instead of some dumb building.

I am starting to hear so many things from parents and how unhappy they are with the administration and their children learning that it makes me wonder if our leaders are out of touch with reality? The reality is fancy buildings are being built while parents are being forced out of schools and not being allowed to participate or partner in their children's education. Forget the building for now and focus on rebuilding teacher/student & parent/administration partnerships.

I love our district but there are too many things going on right now to keep building-this is not the Roman Empire....

Sheila said...

I am writing regarding the use of the new fine arts facility (auditorium and professional development center)by outside organizations. I am the pastor of a new church (New Day United Methodist) in Mansfield that is currently meeting on Sunday nights at the Mansfield Activities Center. Being "parachute-dropped," as they like to call it, to the east side of Mansfield to go and gather people, has been an opportunity of great joy and few challenges. One of the struggles has been to find an affordable venue to rent, especially on the east side of town, for a new church starting from scratch. My prayer is that you will not only make this beautiful new facility open to outside groups, but that you will charge a reasonable rate for rent.
Thanks for your consideration!
Rev. Sheila Fiorella
New Day UMC

Communications Department said...

Thank you to all who have taken the time to consider the proposal and provide feedback via comments. We appreciate your honesty, concern, and thoughts on this important decision.

A recurring theme from the negative comments have addressed a desire for these funds to be used to provide classroom supplies, copy paper, and such instead of a new auditorium and professional development center.

It is important to understand that historically, the District has taken the position that it will not use long-term debt proceeds (bond funds) to purchase short-term consumable supplies.

Please note information provided on the Bond Update information mini-site:

"When addressing growth, capital improvement programs are the best way to fund new schools, facilities, and improvements to existing campuses as well as technology. General funds, originated through current taxes, pay our teachers salaries. These funds also support the operational costs and instruction programs."

Communications Department said...

Updated SEPTEMBER 24, 2009: At the September 22, 2009 Regular School Board Meeting, Board Trustees approved the construction of the performing arts auditorium and professional development center by a 6-0 vote.

Please read the related post regarding the possible site location in coordination with the City of Mansfield.