A big topic of discussion at Monday’s Stephenville ISD board of trustees meeting was the Tarleton State University dressing room agreement, which would cost the district a total of $655,000.
Stephenville resident Mary McGuire attended the meeting and shared her thoughts with the board.
“When I first learned about this ‘deal’ I was really shocked. I really wondered whether any of you had your senses left because this doesn’t make sense,” McGuire said. “They’re going to build a locker room whether we pay for it or not and we can use this money in our district. There are other programs in this school district that desperately need that money. There is an incredibly long list of projects that $655,000 could go to. It’s not fiscally responsible. If we pay for this, we’re not going to be the only ones using it. Tarleton will still rent it out. Are we going to see a return profit on that?”
The Tarleton stadium agreement was also a topic, but the board agreed that the contract on that is beneficial and board member Gary Sult wanted to clarify the contract.
“I don’t think the community and us as board members actually realize that we look at the $85,000 contract as an expenditure. It’s not an accurate statement,” Sult said. “The public is misinformed that it is a net cost per year to lease Tarleton facilities and that is not true.”
The agreement cost is actually made up by gate sales at each SISD game that takes place at Memorial Stadium.
But the issue was the $655,000 for the locker room.
“My problem is the capital investment in something we don’t own,” said board member Scott Osman. “I am for the relationship and the community does get benefit out of the stadium as a whole, but we don’t have to invest that much money into a locker room to maintain that relationship.”
Superintendent Matt Underwood said he believes they could come to some kind of agreement.
“I think we could come up with an agreement. I’m more than willing to sit down and bring some board members in that discussion,” Underwood said. “But I think we’re doing a disservice in just picking up our tents and leaving.”
Board member Cole Parks said he is all for the stadium, but that the district cannot afford to give Tarleton that kind of money and that taxes would have to be raised if they decided to move forward.
In the end there was no action taken by the SISD board but they did agree to more discussion with Tarleton about other options.
The SISD board also talked about the possibility of live broadcasting their meetings, saying it would be beneficial for those who can’t make a 5:30 p.m. meeting. They decided to look further into that, get feedback from the community and see what it will take.