The Brownfield ISD board of trustees voted unanimously in a brief meeting Friday morning to authorize district administrators to go shopping and support a local business — all on someone else’s dime. The school district is the recipient of $90,000 in grant funds from the Lubbock Economic Development Alliance, to be spent on shop equipment that will help outfit the new Workforce Training Center being planned in conjunction with the Brownfield Industrial Development Corp.
BIDC Pledges $500,000 for Training Facility
BIDCorp has pledged $500,000 to build the facility, which will then be maintained and operated by BISD through inter-local agreements with South Plains College. Concerns were voiced early in the process that current Texas law prohibits economic development organizations from building school facilities. However, a state economic development official deemed the proposed local facility admissible because BIDCorp will retain ownership of the property and because all classes taught in the building meet dual credit and college level criteria. LEDA’s grant is further proof of the importance of the planned facility to the entire area.
BISD Superintendent Chris Smith said LEDA understands the importance of a well-trained workforce throughout the South Plains. “They are excited about our project and we are grateful for their help,” he said. BISD will purchase several pieces of heavy automotive repair equipment from Brownfield’s NAPA Auto parts. Items to be purchased include a front-end alignment machine for $35,000, a 4-post vehicle wrack for $39,000, a tire changing machine for $8,200, and a tire balancing machine for $8,400, among other smaller tool purchases.
‘We’re putting together a top-notch program and these pieces of equipment will help our students be ready to graduate and move right into the workforce,” – Superintendent Smith
To comply with the grant, competitive bids were sought and NAPA was the low-bidder. “We feel great about doing business with a local company,” Smith added. “Another bonus is this equipment is identical to that which is used at competition, so our kids are going to be learning on the same thing they’ll see when they represent us.”
BISD will expend funds to purchase the equipment, then submit invoices for reimbursement, which is guaranteed in 10-14 days. BIDCorp board chairman Brian Brisendine congratulated the school district on receiving the grant saying,
“The Workforce Training Center is something we have talked about for several years and we are thrilled that it is coming together. It is a large expenditure, but we believe it is an investment in the future of our community.”
One of the first things a company looking for a place to locate is whether there is a workforce capable of meeting their needs. This project will help make us more attractive to companies and give our students a leg up after graduation.” Smith told the News that BISD is applying for and receiving several other grants to benefit the Workforce Training Center.