Special Board Meeting Recap

SPECIAL BOARD MEETING | MARCH 27, 2024

What follows is a statement from Midland ISD regarding the district-owned property at 1600 E. Wadley Ave. (Ranchland Hills Golf Course):

 

In 2019, Midland Independent School District was in the market for property to serve as the site of a new high school. The property at 1600 E. Wadley Avenue (Ranchland Hills Golf Course) was one of two viable options for sale on the market at the time. The second option was lacking infrastructure and would have required a significant financial investment to develop. With the current location, it is expected that the district will save approximately $2.6 million dollars or about 20% less in site work costs based on access to existing roads, city sewer, city water, water wells, and established trees. The district bought the property in 2019 for $9.5 million dollars after a year of negotiations, and as of October 2023, the property was appraised at $9.8 million dollars. 

 

Over the past five years, the district has been open to proposals about finding alternative locations for the site of the high school. During that time, no official proposals have been presented to the district, however, MISD has also explored other possible locations for the site of the school. These options have included a 75-acre site on Golf Course and Fairgrounds Roads, a 58.5-acre site on Golf Course and Todd Roads, a 185.51-acre site on Loop 250 and Fairgrounds Roads, and a 290.28-acre site on Fairgrounds and Arapahoe Roads. 

 

These options were either more expensive than land currently owned by the district, utilities were not in place, the sites were not large enough, or a combination of all three. During this time, there has not been a viable option on the market for purchase that would make for a sound financial decision for the district and taxpayers. 

 

Ideas around selling and exchanging the land have also been at the forefront of conversation throughout the community. The idea of a land swap, also known as a land exchange, between Hogan Park for 1600 E. Wadley was also brought forth to the district weeks before the November 2023 election. MISD and the Board of Trustees were open to the idea, but many questions remained unanswered. Examples of these questions included the appraisal value of the proposed property; the potential re-location of the Culver Detention Center by Midland County, and a plan to replace the five baseball fields, 11 softball fields, and 13 soccer fields that serve the greater community at Hogan Park. MISD wanted to make sure there was a plan in place by the City of Midland to replenish the fields that would be lost with this transaction. 

 

Additionally, in recent weeks, a property located north of Loop 250 and Todd Road has been suggested. This property poses many challenges, including that it is not currently for sale, its location poses an increase in travel for students living on the south side of Midland, and approximately half of the property is located in the flood plain. The property would also require a land exchange between taxing entities that will take longer than the timeframe needed to keep this project on schedule.

 

A land exchange with the City of Midland, Midland County, or any other taxing entity could be considered under the stipulation that the exchanged land is of equal value and serves the public interest of the district. The board must ensure that the terms of any exchange maintain the intended public purpose and might require appraisals to ascertain fair market values and ensure an equitable swap. 

 

Regarding a potential sale of the land instead, while the district is not obligated to accept any bid, selling to the highest bidder could lead to unintended uses of the land, such as residential development, if the new owner decides against maintaining it as a golf course. Moreover, if the district elects to publicize the potential sale and subsequently receives a fair market offer, it will be difficult to not proceed with the sale as publicized. As with the land swap option, a sale will also require an appraisal to determine fair market value.

 

It is imperative for the projects of Bond 2023, which were approved by 56.12% of voters, to stay on track so as to address the imminent need for grade reconfiguration, safety and security upgrades, and to address overcrowding and enrollment growth. 

 

On December 19, 2023, Midland ISD notified Ranchland Golf Partners, LLC. of the intent to not renew the lease agreement that expires on October 31, 2024, and advance notice will be given as to when site work will take place so as not to disrupt normal daily operations of the facility to the best of the district’s ability. Site planning and the architectural design process for Midland High School is underway for this location. 

 

During the bond planning process that began in February of 2023 and upon calling for a bond election in July of 2023, the district and the board were clear with voters that the Ranchland Hills Golf Course location would serve as the home of a newly built Midland High School. The Midland community solidified this decision by casting their ballots in November, and the board and district are honoring that vote.

NEXT MEETING

The next regular monthly meeting is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. April, 16, at the Bowie Fine Arts Academy auditorium, located at 805 Elk Ave. (Enter from "A" Street.)

LIVE STREAM

Please remember that our meetings are streamed live and archived at midlandisd.net/stream. You can view meeting agendas here.