Photo by Carrie Pryor-Newman
Proposed Multipurpose Center, Only Item on Prop 2, Would Host Variety Of Events
By Beth Dombrowa
Voters will have an opportunity in May to consider the 2018 GCCISD bond proposal. Proposition Two on the ballot includes a single item: a multipurpose center. Since the Board of Trustees called for the bond, there has been a great deal of conversation about the proposed multipurpose center and how it would serve the community.
A common misconception is that the proposed multipurpose center includes a new stadium. However, a new stadium hasn’t been considered as part of the bond; rather, the district plans to make much-needed enhancements to Stallworth Stadium if the bond passes.
A second misconception is that the multipurpose center is intended to be only a sports arena. Although it’s accurate that such a facility would host sporting and fine arts events, including basketball tournaments, cheer and dance competitions, as well as band, orchestra and choir concerts, bringing thousands of students from throughout the greater Houston area and beyond to Baytown to compete, the proposed multipurpose center is exactly what it’s called: a facility that is flexible enough to accommodate all sorts of events, competitions, meetings, offices and more.
Should voters approve the multipurpose center, GCCISD plans to use it for district events such as graduation, (alleviating the need for families to drive to another destination to watch their senior cross the stage), convocation, prom and banquets. It’s also possible that the district could relocate some of its personnel, like Nutrition Services, to the facility.
School districts that have multipurpose centers utilize them in different ways; for example, Klein ISD’s multipurpose center includes a barn and auction arena. Aldine ISD has operated a multipurpose center since 1996. Known as the M.O. Campbell Center, the 182,050 square-foot facility is home to about 1,500 events each year, including events held by outside organizations such as concerts and receptions. And the Berry Center, located in Cy-Fair ISD, has an 11,000 seat athletic stadium; a 15,333 square-foot staff development/conference center that can be partitioned into 17 rooms, a 456-seat theater and more. While GCCISD would design and build a multipurpose center that meets the needs of the local community, the district also anticipates that it could rent the facility, especially given that there isn’t a similar facility anywhere in the vicinity, on the east side of the greater Houston area. Below is an overview of Houston-area multipurpose centers:
Merrell Center, Katy ISD, 4,500 seats / 52 miles from Baytown
Berry Center, Cy-Fair ISD, 8,300 seats / 50 miles from Baytown
Campbell Center, Aldine ISD, 6,400 seats / 32 miles from Baytown
Humble Convention Center, 5,000 seats / 29 miles from Baytown
Pasadena Convention Center, 4,000 seats / 21 miles from Baytown
Ford Arena in Beaumont, 8,500 seats / 58 miles from Baytown
Rental fees collected through outside organizations’ use of the proposed GCCISD multipurpose center may be used to offset annual operating expenses or for payments against the bond debt.
The Citizens Facilities Planning Committee, an all-volunteer group of community leaders, parents and grandparents, reviewed and discussed projects for consideration in the bond package, and the multipurpose center was among them. The committee endorsed the project after learning about the successful utilization of multipurpose facilities in other school districts before the entire bond package went to the Board of Trustees for approval. The multipurpose center is presented as a separate proposition which will allow the community to vote on this item independently.
The bond election is May 5. Early voting begins April 23. For voting locations and times, please visit gccisd.net.
Consolidated Independent School District
4544 Interstate 10 East | Baytown, Texas 77521 | 281.420.4800
P.O. Box 30 | Baytown, Texas 77522 | 281.420.4800
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