RED OAK – More than 20 citizens including many in the Brian Terrace community filled the council chambers to voice opposition to a proposed zoning change for the Texas State Technical College (TSTC) campus.
The proposed campus will be located between the back of the new high school and the Brian Terrace development on land provided by the Red Oak ISD.
The TSTC campus will provide skilled technology-type training to both high school graduates and all Ellis County high school students seeking dual credit prior to graduation.
“This training will be also available for people that are seeking to gain skills in another career trade,” School Provost Jim Rowland said.
The Red Oak ISD sought to have the campus to be located in Red Oak to meet the requirement of State House Bill 5, which requires school districts to provide training for students seeking a skilled-trades career path after graduation.
“If we do not get this campus in Red Oak, it will go somewhere else,” Mayor Alan Hugley said.
This is an excellent opportunity for the city and the district to have this training available in Red Oak, in Hugley said. One of the deciding factors for Triumph was where would they find skilled personnel, Hugley said.
After holding the public hearing and hearing from residents, the council would take a vote on the proposed zoning change for the 119-acre area. The zoning change included additional develop regulations especially written for Texas State Technical College.
The zoning request was made by the Red Oak ISD.
All of the citizens who spoke opposed the location of the school. Many were in favor of the school coming to Red Oak, just at another location.
“I believe in progress, but why back up to Brian Terrace,” Linda Smith said.
Traffic issues was the top concern of the group of speakers.
Smith and Oscar Ramos were joined with the other speakers expressing their concerns over traffic congestion on Lowrance and Louise Ritter Roads.
“I’m for progress, but I have concerns about traffic with the additional cars in the rear,” Ramos said, joining Smith’s opinion.
The district giving the land to TSTC was the top of others Minds while, noise, crime and flooding from the construction were among the other issues expressed by the public speakers.
“At first I was totally onboard until I had a front porch meeting with several of my neighbors in the Brian Terrace neighborhood,” Councilman Alan Hanes said.
Hanes went through his list of objections and discussed how each would impact the city and the neighboring community.
“There are several locations close to the highway where it would be better suited,” Cory Crouch said.
“We needed a location that would be best for TSTC and our school district now. We did nor have time to locate and purchase land. If we had of waited, the opportunity to have this in Red Oak would have disappeared,” Hugley said
Hugley told the audience that the city knows there are traffic issues in the area.
“We will be looking at ways to resolve the infrastructure and will be looking at TxDOT for grants to fund the needed improvements. But to get those grants, we must have and demonstrate the need,” Hugley said.
After extended deliberations on the zoning change, the motion to amend the zoning passed by a unanimous vote of the council members.
TSTC has already started holding some classes at Waxahachie high School and at Red Oak High school.
The new 102,000-square-foot building will be completed and ready for classes in August 2014.
The only other action by the council was a request by Fire Chief Eric Thompson for the city to accept an $84,000 grant from FEMA for adequate fire staffing.
“This grant will enable us to add a fourth man at the second station. As this city grows, we will need to add more staff to our department to be able to answer this 911 calls from the citizens,” Thompson.
Thompson's request passed unanimously.