Taking a step forward in the process with Request for Qualifications, Mineral Wells ISD could have a new agriculture barn ready to go by next school year.
The Mineral Wells ISD board of trustees unanimously approved the request for qualifications for design and construction services for an ag science facility.
“We do have an ag barn. I’s located out on Fort Wolters on the military base, but it’s pretty remote, it’s pretty isolated, it’s pretty old and pretty small,” MWISD Superintendent John Kuhn said. “This particular recommendation would be to build a new ag barn near the high school for the convenience of students and parents.”
Consulting architect for MWISD Tim Hopkins said the new barn is proposed to be about 13,000 square feet with space for 30 pigs, 20 goats and sheep and about 10 pens for cattle. The facility is also proposed to have a practice arena, food storage, bathrooms, wash rack and other support areas.
“The only thing we gave a dimension to, because there’s a number of them, are the pen sizes for the pigs, goats and sheep, and the cattle pens and practice arena. Everything else is going to be based on overall what the project can afford and what the occupancy is,” Hopkins said. “So really there’s a small portion of this that’s going to have a foundation or slab. Everything else is going to be dirt.
“Once the design team and contractor are selected, we’ll be working closely with them so they can work within the budget of the district.”
Kuhn answered the question of whether the district has funds available for the new facility and the purchase of new Chromebooks, which was approved at the same MWISD board meeting.
“Right now we have $6.7 million in fund balance and the funding for this would come out of that,” Kuhn said. “An agriculture program in a rural community like ours is extremely important for our kids.”
The ag barn will be constructed bigger than what the current capacity is in the district’s ag program.
“The sizes we’re asking for, that’s for growth because we’ve had several families reach out to us that have heard about it and said if we’re moving it where it’s convenient, they’re going to show animals,” MWISD Career and Technology Director Deeann Hampton said. “So we projected some growth when we set those numbers. We’re just excited about this opportunity.”
Kuhn said he believes the construction of this new facility would generate excitement in the community.
“We have seen some wonderful parents involved in our local stock shows and in raising animals, and I would love to be able to do something for these families and help these kids along with their futures,” he said. “The last year has been pretty hard on these stock show families — a lot of them spent money on their animals and didn’t get to show them — so I would love for Mineral Wells ISD to be a part that injects some good news into the world of agriculture for our people.”
Kuhn added that this is the beginning of a long process, but is hopeful the projected completion date will be August of 2021.