February 27, 2024
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MISD Board of Trustees hired Parkhill Architects of Lubbock to design the proposed Muleshoe Activity Center at their regular meeting on Oct. 18. 

Superintendent Dr. R.L. Richards emphasized that plans are preliminary, but the board agreed the building should include a square walking track with three lanes, a large conference room, bathrooms, storage and a turf field inside the new facility. 

The building will be paid for with funds that have been set aside. 

“There will be no bond issue, and taxes will not be raised,” Richards said. 

The idea for the building came up around late December or early January. The board discussed a facility that could be used for band, softball, baseball, track, football and PE classes. 

“There will also be a conference/training room where we can do training with kids or staff members,” Richards said. “We’re still in the planning phases, still discussing how the community might use it.” 

The walking track, roughly 220 yards around, might be one place where the community could use the facility. 

“The band will use it quite a bit,” Richards said. “When the band is in class, the football team is on the field, so they can’t practice marching very well, unless it’s very late in the evening. Also, when it’s cold in the winter, or when there are dirt storms in the spring, it will be a place for extra activities, a place to practice basketball, softball or band.” 

The size of the facility will be determined by the budget. 

The board of trustees went through the process of putting the project up for bids. Staff and administration then narrowed the candidates down to three, who were interviewed at the board meeting. They selected Parkhill Architects for their experience in building facilities such as the proposed activity center. 

“We sent them information Wednesday after the school board meeting, and we sat down with them again after that,” Richards said. “They’ll be getting me some more information, and I’ll get back with the board.” 

The facility will be built on existing school land and will not involve an extra purchase of land. “The size of the facility will depend upon the budget,” Richards said. “There is no cost estimate yet, maybe in two or three months. It really is in the preliminary stages.” 

Richards plans to update the public regularly on the process of the project. 

The board spent much of the night discussing the future of Muleshoe ISD, two possible solar energy projects and Senate Bill 1. The bill was passed by the Texas House and Senate and awaits the signature of Governor Greg Abbott. 

“During the last legislative session, SB1 was created to where the state is setting some of the school tax rates instead of local school board,” Richards said. “Earlier in the year during the regular legislative session, there was a little talk about the legislature trying to take some of the fund balance away from public schools. The legislature was upset because some schools have a large fund balance. There was some discussion of only allowing three months of operating expenses in our fund balance. It looks like they want to increase the Homestead Exemption to $40,000. I don’t have all the details.” 

The two solar energy projects would benefit the school tax abatement for wind energy companies, and money would be sent to the school boards in lieu of taxes. 

“The board approved the abatement, and the projects have to be approved by the state comptroller,” Richards said. “If they’re approved by comptroller, the company has to decide to go ahead and build it. 

“There are two solar sites southwest of town, and one of those is actually shared between Springlake–Earth and Muleshoe schools. Springlake-Earth would get part of the money, and we’d get the other part. The board is still thinking about how we would use those resources. Some would be used on building projects.”  

Gail M. Williams, Muleshoe Journal Correspondent


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