TISD OKs offer to purchase club land

Published on Monday, 28 April 2014 23:09 - Written by Emily Guevara, eguevara@tylerpaper.com

 

The purchase of Tyler Tennis and Swim Club could be in the future for Tyler ISD as the district looks to add acreage to the Robert E. Lee High School property in preparation for a future new campus.

The TISD board of trustees on Monday approved making an offer to purchase the club, at 320 Shiloh Road, for the possible future use of a new Lee. It was a 6-0 vote with District 4 trustee Shirley Jordan absent.

The district is interested solely in the land and not the buildings or amenities on it. The club’s 8 acres is on the south side of Lee’s approximately 58 acres. “It’s kind of a unique tie in that we heard that the club was on the market unofficially and we wanted to make sure that we took this opportunity if there (is) a deal to be had,” board Vice President Andy Bergfeld said.

If the purchase goes through, it would save the district a substantial amount of money compared to if TISD had to buy new property for Lee and start from scratch, Bergfeld said.

Board President the Rev. Orenthia Mason said owning the additional land would provide the district with options as far as the positioning of a new Lee on the site, new infrastructure and a new traffic route for the campus.

Staying at the existing property also would enable TISD to keep the field house and recently upgraded football field.

“We’re just trying to think about what would be the best value to voters,” Bergfeld said.

All of this is just preparation and planning at this time. TISD is in the middle of completing its bond projects associated with the 2013 election.

Any work at Lee and/or John Tyler high schools would require the board to call a bond election and the TISD voters to approve it.

If Tyler Tennis and Swim accepts TISD’s offer, the district would use leftover 2008 bond funds to make the purchase.

TISD has more than $5.4 million in leftover 2008 bond funds, but Bergfeld and Mason declined to say how much the district planned to offer for the property citing a desire to let the negotiation process run its course.

Bergfeld said if TISD does purchase the property, the district would allow Tyler Tennis and Swim to stay there as a tenant until TISD needs the land. The club would assume all expenses and liability during that time.

TISD Superintendent Gary Mooring said if TISD purchases the property it would demolish the facilities on it.

Jim Gillen, the attorney for Tyler Tennis and Swim Club, said he had no comment to provide until the club’s membership considers the district’s offer. The club manager could not be reached for comment.