Brookesmith ISD may consider bond project for improvements

Steve Nash
Brownwood Bulletin
John Blackburn of Live Oak Public Finance speaks at Wednesday night's meeting of the Brookesmith school district's Facilities Review Committee.

BROOKESMITH -- The Brookesmith school district is looking ahead to a possible facilities improvement plan that would be partially paid for by revenue from solar farm projects in the district.

The district's 28-member Facilities Review Committee met Wednesday night in a meeting attended by district officials and interested citizens as well as John Blackburn of Live Oak Public Finance LLC and Robb Sidebottom of Gallagher Construction Services.

The discussion included a possible bond issue, with solar project revenue paying about 38 percent of the debt from the bonds.

Brookesmith superintendent Steve Mickelson also said the district will be receiving about $2.2 million from the IP Radian Solar farm in January 23. He said the district would receive another $1.5 million from the Mustang Mountaineer solar project if that project materializes. Additionally, the district will receive $50,000 a year for 15 years from each project, Mickelson said.

"It's been a long time since Brookesmith has had money to even consider some of the things that we're considering," Mickelson said. "I wouldn't consider us headed into being a rich district by any means. We're actually kind of tight this year but next year is looking better than it has for us in some time. "

The discussion included numerous needs that could be addressed by a facilities improvement project, and a priority list and cost will be developed later.

Needs identified included new school buses, upgrades to technology, gymnasium improvements, construction of a cafetorium, new windows for the high school, covered walkways, exterior lighting, construction of a track and new HVAC units

"I was asked what our endgame was, and our engame is to best serve our kids," Mickelson said.