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Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Possible Site Location for Proposed Auditorium and Professional Development Center

Updated October 28, 2009: At the October 27, 2009 Regular School Board Meeting, Board Trustees approved a motion to put the MISD Performing Arts Auditorium and Professional Development Center at the Shops at Broad location pending the final resolution of a tri-party agreement between MISD, City of Mansfield and Forest City Developers at the November 17th Board Meeting.

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.
The developer of The Shops at Broad Street, working with the City of Mansfield, has approached the school district with a proposal to locate the proposed Performing Arts Auditorium/Professional Development Center to the land at Broad Street and Highway 287.

The school district is examining the proposal and is addressing the following conditions:
  • The land will be given to the school district at no cost to the district.
  • The school district will retain the 25 acres of land behind Ben Barber to be used in the future as the district deems necessary.
  • The school district will retain 100% ownership of the facility.
  • The district will incur no additional cost to the overall construction price if we decide to move the facility to the The Shops at Broad Street.
  • If any non-MISD group wants to use the facility, they will pay a rental fee and meet MISD requirements for use.
  • There will be no special consideration given to the City of Mansfield for the use of the facility.
  • The City of Mansfield or any outside group would have the ability to rent the facility if they are willing to pay the rental fee.
The reason given for gifting the land to the school district is that if the facility is built it would spur additional development at The Shops at Broad Street. This would also lead to greater sales tax revenue. There will be additional meetings with the city and the developer of the The Shops at Broad Street to discuss the proposal and other possible considerations.


Anonymous said...

Personally, I would much prefer the proposed auditorium to be built adjacent to Ben Barber. In ten years, EVERYTHING will be located at Broad St and 287, and as a parent of 4 MISD students, I do not want to fight that traffic for events. The area is already building up quickly with MMC, offices, and shops, so I can just imagine what we are facing down the road. There are plenty of shops and restaurants that could use the revenue support around the 287 and Cooper/Debbie area as well.

Laura O'Connor said...

While I do see a need for this facility, I can't say that I'm happy with the plan at this time. If the district has such a surplus of funds, why are the parents at our school (Cora Spencer Elementary) required to provide copy paper, dry erase markers, paper towels, etc, while our PTA is providing leveled readers for our kids to have enough books to read? My tax $$$$ are going toward a convenience facility while the rest of my money goes to make sure my children have the materials their teachers need to conduct class on a daily basis!

By the end of last year, we were OUT of paper. I had to offer to provide a case of paper myself so that the 2nd grade teachers could complete the year's science curriculum. Given that the teachers were overwhelmed with gratitude that they were given some paper, I think we need to look at the needs of our existing schools before expanding the district with a VERY costly facility meant not to inconvenience the district.

Anonymous said...

Do we need/want to vote on spending 40 million for a project with unknown support in the community? We are in very challenging economic times and perhaps now is not the time for the extra bells and whistles. As for the claim of ever escalating construction costs - that's the same prediction that was made/asserted last year and look where we are. Nobody can say with any certainty what tomorrow's construction cost will be and to use that as the impetus for expediting this project does not seem like sound reasoning.

Bill Tillotson said...

I do not believe the U.S. 287 and Broad location is the best place for this facility.

No matter what promises the city makes, building on their land will impact the proposed schedule negatively. And a good portion of the parking is already there at Ben Barber - by definition, there would be a higher cost of construction for parking at a green field site. The traffic will also be much worse at this location as was pointed out above.

The location behind Ben Barber is centrally located and more easily accessible. The alternate location will needlessly increase costs and ultimately delay the project.

Anonymous said...

I am an avid supporter of the proposed fine arts/professional development facility, however, I believe the original site is a better prospect. Again, it is more centrally located and can share some parking with Ben Barber. I just feel that the district might be indebted to the shopping center and I don't think the center will get the increased traffic it expects. Although, I foresee the facility being booked almost year round with band, choir and theatre performances!

Stephen said...

Steve F.,
I am a resident of South Grand Prairie and all of my school taxes are paid to the MISD. I think this school district is one of the best in the metroplex. I have read over the financial reasons to move forward on the Performing Arts Center and it's intended uses. What seems like an impressive reason should be evaluated on a more business like manner when it comes to spending tax dollars and issuing bond money to expand debt that down the line causes the need to continue raising school property taxes. These are tough times for many, I have beeen out of work for over a year and nearly exhausted all of my savings. I have seen many foreclosures in the DFW area. Yes the recession has reduced cost for the new high school so why not take this time to be fiscally responsible not only to the MISD but to the people who pay the property taxes for the MISD to operate. MISD is not alone in our teachers needing supplies and sometimes books to complete a curriculum but wouldn't it be nice to spend a small amount of money for supplies and books instead of field of dreams projects in these very tough economic times. Think like a business and not like a king building a castle. I sure hope the decision makers in this project have thought out the cost factor and not the savings if they do it now. Nowhere does it say we must have this center. New books and technology and more teachers make a better school district than
a building does anyday. Perhaps you should survey your teachers about if they would need more help, books, and better technology than a place they can all get together once a year for graduation ceremonies and three quarterly session of training yearly?

JF said...

I think your post is very well written and brings up some good points. However, I believe the monies in question are earmarked specifically for either construction or new construction, so it couldn't be used to buy paper or supplies. I may be ignorant or misinformed on this, but I think I read that in the other blog regarding this building.

Chief said...

Yes, this proposal will help the development company draw more people, but it is not in the best interest of our children. If this waste of tax dollars must be built, construction behind Ben Barber is a much better idea. Building it next to a shopping center is a horrible idea. If development of the Broad/US 287 area goes even remotely as expected, it will be a very high traffic area already. I am much more ignorant than JF on the funding aspects, but if funds are currently earmarked for construction, does it mean the money MUST be spent? I am tired of seeing this ISD spend money on construction and then asking me to buy supplies to support my children's education. I will not be sending any more supplies to the school until this craziness stops. Buy chalk.

Communications Department said...

For clarification, the Mansfield ISD Police Chief, Mike Leyman, is not the author of the previous comment. He is often referred to in our community as "Chief," therefore it was important to make this distinction.

Communications Department said...

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.

Anonymous said...

Perhaps the district can tell us what increased security costs might be needed at the Broad/ 287 site. This school facility will be built in a high traffic shopping district instead of near the Ben Barber campus and bus barn where I would assume MISD police already patrol. For those taxpayers who complain that their schools already run out of paper and supplies keep in mind that according to the Mansfield News Mirror that in addition to spending $39 millon from constuction bonds the district also committed to over $490,000 a year in OPERATING expenses. If you subtract out $53,000 a year to rent Potter's house for graduation that is still almost $440,000 a year. Some of those costs may be made up with rentals but ask yourself how many outside concerts and plays may want to rent a facility at $14,000 per event if they can't serve alcohol. Last time I checked Bass Hall (half the size) sells a glass of wine at intermission- I bet at a good profit. Will a school facility do the same?

Anonymous said...

I am concerned about how these cost will be paid. Many employees were RIFED when we opened the last HIgh Schhol. With the operating cost of another High School and this building PTA will be providing even more things that schools go with out. Santizing schools, having adequate tissues and hand sanitizer machines by every door is far more important in the wake of the flu pandemic.

Anonymous said...

MISD owns the property next to Ben Barber. Transportation was unable to expand to this land because of future growth. MISD then bought a small plot to expand, which is already too small and can't be staffed because the district won't spend the money. Now the district wants to buy an expensive piece of property for something it already owns. This is utterly ridiculous!!!!!

Clay Jordan said...

As a student of the district and and a citizen of Mansfield for all but 2 years of my life, I have seen the explosion of growth in the recent decade. My mother, who also attended school in the district, has seen a far greater change than myself and the pictures and changes to the city that I have heard of are unbelievable. Just in the past few years, traffic in the city has increased exponetially, and I as others have commented on here, fear the amount of traffic involved with the building being so close to a shopping center. However, this offer appears to be too good to pass up and I certainly await more information on this issue.

As to what others have said about the facility being unneccesary to the district, I would like to see them find a proper facility rent free that can hold LARGE audiences at no direct cost to them. As a member of the FFA, I have seen that it is often a laborious to make all the arrangements needed to have a functioning event that can hold the amount of people attending the event. I support this facility, but I would love to see some figures and cost estimates in the near future.

Heather Miglets said...

Why is it no one had a problem with building a new sports stadium, but people are up in arms over the fine arts facility? Isn't it about time we spend some money for those who are artistically talented rather than physically! A fine arts facility has been needed for a long time and our time has come!

Anonymous said...

We would like to make a comment or two about the Performing Arts Auditorium/Professional Development Center.

Security - the MISD Police department will, I am sure take care of this but, what will be the cost?

If included in the Shops of Broad Street retail development it is isolated from other MISD sites and in a higher risk area because of the traffic congestion caused by retail visitors creating a very expensive security endeavor.

On the other hand if kept in or adjacent to other MISD sites this eliminates the separatation and the excessive traffic that our MISD police have to deal with and be compensated for making the task less costly.

Visibility - I read a comment about how we want this development to be Mansfields answer to Bass Hall and be highly visible.

Stuffing it in the North East Corner of the Shops of Broad Street behind all the future retailers (we don't even know who that will be or when they will build)and on a dead end street of an older neighborhood will not provide visibility.
If we have to build within the Shops of Broad Street why not front the development on Broad Street, like across from the First Baptist Church making it highly visible and easily accessable. Security is still going to cost MISD a separate patrol just for the Performing Arts Auditorium/Professional Development Center, but if placed on a major street instead of back behind a shopping center, the location alone would deter crime.

Location - Who says we have to put it in the North East Corner of the Shops of Broad Street, after all this is our answer to Bass Hall, right?
The Ben Barber location will be more visible than that NE corner of The Shops at Broad and less expensive to secure.
Why not build the Performing Arts Auditorium/Professional Development Center at 360 and Broad Street along with our other existing MISD venues providing more visibility and less expensive security.

Remember, once we build it, we have to live with what ever is built in front of it and we have to secure it from then on at MISD expense.

What about the residents that live on the street (NE corner of shops of broad) where MISD wants to build? How are these residents suppose to maintain a normal life style with the traffic and lights flooding their homes? Has anybody driven by the location that MISD is proposing the Performing Arts building be relocated to?

Anonymous said...

I am a teacher in MISD and have a student enrolled at the elementary level. After reading many of the posts I felt compelled to clarify one thing. I too am frustrated by the tough operating budget choices (including the amount of supplies we have to purchase for the classroom at our elementary schools). I too wish this could be re-examined. But please do not confuse two separate issues by thinking that bond money can be spent on school supplies. By Texas state law, it can only be spent for construction, purchase of capital outlay for new buildings, and a few other things (like technology in some cases). I'm not certain I agree with the law personally because it handicaps our administrators from allocating money in a more holistic manner. But unless we change the law at the state legislative level (insert sigh here), our administrators have to operate within it. Could someone with more knowledge post some details of bond money versus operating expense budget. I think that would help people better understand why this is the probably the best thing we can do for our kids with this money right now and for the long-term.

Anonymous said...

Those that posted on here about the money being available ONLY for new construction are right. I too am a teacher in the district and while it would be nice to have more supplies etc, please stop posting on here about how the district should use this money for that. They can't, end of story. The responsible thing to do is spend it when it is most advantageous, ie, when costs for construction are low. Please give our adminstration a break. You, as citizens of Mansfield, supported the bond package that included these funds, the money was specifically earmarked for new construction, and you have to live with that. If you are unhappy with it, then the next time a bond election comes up, VOTE NO. In addition, if we were to allow bond monies to be used "however the board sees fit" do you understand how easy it would be for corruption of this "free-handedness" to take place? The rules are there for a reason, to safeguard these massive amounts of funds, so that every penny is accounted for and used for what it was intented..... (I am no getting down off my soapbox).

Anonymous said...

Money well spent??? Yes, as I am told by law this bond money must be spent on buildings. So, accepting that the $40 million graduation center is coming, what will the real annual operating cost be - afterall, this money comes at the expense of hiring more teachers, school supplies, education programs, etc. for our kids. The district says about $500,000 year to operate. Holy cow, although this number is large I think that in reality it will actually be much higher - more like $1 million plus every year. So even if it is a measly $500k, we could still rent the Potter's House 4 times a year in June for graduation, hire 6-8 new high school math and science teachers, and pay for more paper for our elementary schools. The operational cost is NOT covered by the bond money and this cost will kill real needs in this district; primarily hiring more teachers so the class sizes in middle school and high school are not so ridicuosly large. To be fair, I would like such a facility for band and theater considering the $20 million temple built to the football gods and the $8 million swimming pool. MISD = beautiful buildings and huge class sizes with poor results to show for it. Can we fix the real problem please?

Anonymous said...

I believe building behind Ben Barber is a much better option. Events such as the MISD Summer Conference, which is optional staff training for all employees, could benefit from Ben Barber by providing additional rooms for workshops and vendors. It is my understanding the training center will only house 3 computer labs. With technology having a greater impact on all content areas, I worry that 3 labs will not be adequate to conduct training during events such as the Summer Conference therefore, a portion of the workshops may be taught using the Ben Barber labs.
Shared parking with Ben Barber is also an asset to building on this site.

Anonymous said...

as I said before to all those complaining on here.... next time VOTE NO. You people are complaining about something that can't be changed. It is a reality. The performing arts center is coming. It amazes me how many people want to put in their two cents after the fact. You should have rallied together BEFORE the astronomical bond package was propsed and voted it down. You people are also convieniently forgetting that the district is building a fifth high school too, which will spread our district thinner, allowing for those smaller class sizes, etc. but I don't hear anyone complaining about that.

Anonymous said...

I think the location at 287 and Broad is a great location. It is a win/win to have the land gifted to the district. MISD is a prgressive and balanced district and is on the right track!

Anonymous said...

I think the location at 287 and Broad is NOT a great location. I live on the street at the NE corner of the purposed build site, and I have a hard enough time getting out onto Cannon at school release times due to the heavy traffic. I can only imagine the magnitude of traffic this would produce if this is built at this location. The location behind Ben Barber has already been alotted for it to be built there, and the sharing of facilities and parking during Conferences as stated previously sounds like a win/win to me. I'm sure my neighbors on Carlin/Paul Street would agree!

Anonymous said...

So, the performing arts center is coming. What a shame that the students at Tarver Rendon, JL Boren, Alice Ponder, Worley, and Wester (to just name a few) will continue to learn in facilities that are in dire need of repair. Wouldn't more students, parents, and staff benefit from more instructional days with renovations from monies used with the $40M excess funds than the number of students, parents, and staff who will attend a high school graduation or performance (perhaps 10 days a year)? Do not ask me to vote for a bond election for those facility renovations down the road.

Anonymous said...

1. While I totally agree that basic needs such as supplies and repairs are needed and should be addressed first, I am incredibly excited that we will finally have a performing arts facility that is on par with Newsom Stadium and the Natatorium.

The uses for such a facility are almost unlimited. Mansfield has well over (somebody do the math) 1500 band students, and probably as many choir, art, theater and elementary music students who need a facility in which to perform and hear other groups. Currently, it's impossible to get all the groups booked into Willie Pigg, which is, at best, "functional." (Bless it's heart, it does the best it can.)

UIL contests, Invitational contests, seminars , clinics, workshops, year-round activities.

It would be large enough to host performances by
major artists, symphonies and theater groups and shows and charge usage fees.

The possibilities are almost unlimited.

2. I vote for the Ben Barber location for the same reason as mentioned in a prior post. The traffic around 287/Broad will be a problem when that area fills-up with retail stores and restaurants. While that maybe a great centralized location, traffic and parking could be "bad."

Communications Department said...

Updated October 28, 2009: At the October 27, 2009 Regular School Board Meeting, Board Trustees approved a motion to put the MISD Performing Arts Auditorium and Professional Development Center at the Shops at Broad location pending the final resolution of a tri-party agreement between MISD, City of Mansfield and Forest City Developers at the November 17th Board Meeting.

Anonymous said...

Other than the obvious "free land" reason for choosing this location, what are the other reasons? I think this blog has been pretty even regarding out pros and cons of both locations, I am just curious as to why the board went in this direction. Just being curious as this decision is out of the hands of the public.