QISD OKs funds for ag pavilion, discusses field

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A long desired agriculture pavilion was unanimously approved by Quitman Independent School District (QISD) board members last Monday evening. The cost of the multi-purpose pavilion is $221,244 and the awarded bid went to Ballard East Texas Electrical Services using funds from the designated fund balance. This is not a part of the $10.5 million bond issue being used for the infrastructure, new band hall and classrooms under construction by Jackson Construction currently in progress.

“Our facilities committee has met over the last year several times. We had a list of priorities we wanted to look at. We have some money set aside, $950,000, to do renovation projects and these are the items we wanted to look at,” Superintendent Rhonda Turner said. “They are worthwhile projects the community has needed for a long time. The first thing we are going to look at is an ag pavilion.”

Agriculture instructor Brant Lee presented the project to the board. “I have had a vision of what could happen someday, I am wrapping up my eighth year here. We are looking at an 80’ x 200’ pavilion. I have visited with other schools and this is a good size for us,” Lee explained. “As far as uses the first thing that comes to mind is livestock shows, but a facility like this will be used for so much more. It will be an extension of the classroom where we will be able to get out there and work on skill events, FFA events and school-wide events, elementary events, elementary school events and community events. It will be able to be rented out for meetings and organizations.”

According to Lee, FFA classroom activities include hands-on work experience and development of life skills, helping members discover their career path. Lee added it is estimated one in five people in the United States are working in jobs connected to agriculture. The pavilion will have one end enclosed, seven roll up doors, two walk-through doors, three fans and gutters all the way around. There will be an 80’ x 50’ enclosed area at one end which will be insulated.

In another matter, the board discussed building a softball field. “We are not going to take action on this tonight. We don’t have an actual bid tonight. We will get bids in and bring that back to you,” Turner said.

The board was shown pictures of a field built at Merit Bland by a possible vendor for the Quitman project. “We are trying to stay in the ‘what we need range.’ This isn’t a fancy, but it is everything we need,” Turner added. “We want it to be real nice, but we want to be conscientious about what we are spending. We want the basic things in there which are needed. We want the lights, the seating and the dugouts are important and the batting cages are important. We want those things that are the core to the softball field.” Turner added the cost of the softball field is not part of the current bond program.

The board did approve the purchase of several items from Whitehouse ISD for the sports program. The district is buying baseball light poles and other equipment.“The light poles at the Whitehouse baseball field are just three years old. They decided to go a different direction so we had an opportunity to make an offer. I don’t have a dollar amount on what that would be retail, but I can tell you it is an astronomical amount,” Turner said. “It’s not new stuff, but it is in good, good condition. They are rebuilding their field so we had an opportunity with a little work on our end to get all those items.

“The baseball pole lights are in concrete sleeves so you can move them. We are going to have to spend more to move them. Techline Sports Lighting is a vendor and they work with the original company who installed the lights so they are going to take them down for us. They will move them to Quitman to the new softball field. They will reinstall them in new concrete sleeves for us in the ground. The board approved the Techline Sports Lighting request for $49,545.00.

In other action the board approved:

• Moving the May 8 board meeting to May 15.

• Granting the superintendent permission to hire and issue contracts to certified staff.

• Instructional allotment for TEKS certification for 2017-18.

• Financial statement and check payments.

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