Weatherford Democrat

November 14, 2012

College gets proposal from Durant

Sally Sexton
Weatherford Democrat

WEATHERFORD —  

Weatherford College, as well as several other organizations, got a step closer to upgrading last week, when Jerry Durant presented WC trustees with a donation proposal Thursday.

If approved, the donation, which would include acreage and a monetary amount, would affect the Parker County Committee on Aging as well as the Parker County Livestock Improvement Association, the Sheriff’s Posse and the local 4H organization.

Weatherford College board members met in closed session Tuesday afternoon, with deliberation of real property as the only agenda item.

Brent Baker, vice president of institutional advancement, said no decisions had been made as of Tuesday afternoon. No further information was provided, due to the meeting being conducted during executive session.  

According to Durant’s proposal, the plan would move the rodeo team out to the current 4H property, owned by the county.

“The 4H club would still get to use that property, but if there’s another event going on, 4H would be able to utilize the Livestock Association property, so they would have 15 acres out by the posse grounds,” Durant said.

To help expansion plans for the college, Durant offered 31 acres of Granbury property to be used for the construction of a new campus in Granbury. The acreage is located on Loop 567, beside Nettie Baccus Elementary School.

“This is an opportunity for me to give back to both Hood and Parker County,” he said. “By establishing a campus there, Weatherford College would get the right to tax Hood County.

“Hood County is one of the only counties in Texas that doesn’t collect taxes for institutions of higher learning, and there’s no telling how much that would bring in.”

Also included in the presentation was an offer of up to $1 million to be used for the construction of a new Allied Health facility being considered.

“I’m encouraging them to build a 400,000-square-foot building, because then [Weatherford College] would get the maximum amount,” Durant said. “We have one of the best nursing programs out of anyone around here, and as the population gets older, there’s a need for more nurses.”

Durant said the primary reason for wanting to donate was the need for growth and expansion, and for revamping traditional facilities such as the Parker County Sheriff’s Posse grounds.

“If the posse doesn’t get [those renovations], we lose all chances of expanding,” he said. “It’s very dangerous for that many people to get in there when they have rodeos and such and as part of our tradition I would hate to see it go downhill.

“In this day and time, we’ve got to keep up or we’ll lose our traditions.”

Weatherford College president Kevin Eaton expressed his excitement at the proposal ideas during Thursday’s meeting.

“I think this is a great deal for the college and for the other organizations,” he said. “Beyond the money, Weatherford College is a partner in our community. Part of our mission speaks to the responsibility of working with the community and this would be the perfect opportunity.”

Board president Frank Martin requested that trustees hold several future meetings with the other entities involved.

The board’s next regularly scheduled meeting will be held Dec. 13.