TISD Picks Land For Tech, Career Center
By EMILY GUEVARA
A 25-acre parcel near Tyler Junior College's West Campus could be the home of Tyler ISD's new Advanced Technology and Career Center.
Although the district has yet to call a bond election to build the center, the school district could put money down on the property to essentially hold it until a bond passes. At that point the district would make a decision about final approval.
The board of trustees is scheduled to meet today and vote on this issue. The meeting, which is open to the public, is scheduled for 7 p.m. in the Dr. Jack L. Davidson Conference Center in the Jim Plyler Instructional Complex, 807 W. Glenwood Blvd.
TISD Superintendent Dr. Randy Reid said location was the biggest factor when deciding about the property.
"We needed something that was very central to TISD and that was right off the loop," he said.
The land is off West Loop 323 near the corner of Earl Campbell Parkway and Bennett Avenue in an area poised for more development. Tyler Business and Technology Park, a 150-acre lot, is being developed south of Earl Campbell Parkway.
Centene Corp. plans to open its third American insurance customer claims center there, which would make it the first large tenant in the park.
Tom Mullins, president/CEO of the Tyler Economic Development Council, which owns the property TISD is looking to buy, said TJC's West Campus already serves as an anchor in that area and the college is a strong partner with the business community all over Tyler.
He said putting a career and technology center in that same vicinity seemed like a logical extension from the council's standpoint. Council board members and leadership have long supported TISD and they were willing to take the land off the market for this project, he said.
"Even if it doesn't end up on our property, it's an incredibly important project for the future economic growth of Tyler," Mullins said by phone.
Reid said the property will cost about $2.5 million, and the district will have to put down $500.
The acreage gives the district flexibility with the land. Although the plan is to build the career and technology center as a come-and-go facility for students at both high schools, the land space gives TISD room to expand facilities should they ever want to make it a full-time campus.
In other business, the board is scheduled to:
Vote on two new hires for director of elementary curriculum and director of secondary curriculum. These are new positions heavily focused on providing curriculum and teaching support for teachers. Reid said these hires would have no effect on the budget because other lower level curriculum and instruction positions have been left open when people have left.
Vote on a more than $70,000 contract with K12 Insights, a company that works with school districts to help them engage the community. The company would charge $4 per student and TISD has about 18,000 students.
Vote on a $34,385 contract to offer the Advancement Via Individual Determination program, or AVID, at eight secondary and three elementary campuses.
AVID is a college readiness system that serves K-12 students by accelerating student learning using research-based methods of effective instruction, according to TISD information. A State Farm Good Neighbor Citizenship grant is paying for the elementary schools to have it. State funding will fund the secondary schools.