The hot topic of the Alice independent School Board’s Monday evening meeting was the approval of a $3.4 million multi-use facility.

The multi-use facility is a 37,039-square foot building with a 60-yard artificial surface field. The facility will also have restrooms and an equipment room. Initial plans are for the facility to be constructed just west of the Alice High School athletic department.

This project is not a part of the $20 million bond voters passed in May. Instead it is a “self-funded” facility. The money will come from the general fund balance.

Five of the six school board members in attendance were in favor of the facility. However, school board member Jennifer Barrer Solis was not in favor of spending $3.4 million on a facility when the 2020 bond projects haven’t even started among other issues.

“It sounds like a great opportunity. It really does, but I’m just hesitant because $3.4 million is a lot of money. Total, from what we’ve already approved, that’ about $4.5 million dollars and these are just guesses,” Solis said. “This is without adding costs for drainage issues that we already know we’re going to have with this facility...I keep going back to what’s going to benefit all students. I feel that this facility. as wonderful as it might be, with the cost of $3.4 million, starting. That’s the starting cost, if everything goes smooth. That’s just too much money for me.”

According to the district, the facility will help different organizations like the band, football, cheerleaders, baseball and JROTC practices during certain weather conditions and should have a schedule for everyone to use the facility.

“It’s a lot of money that we would put to use for kids. I look at this as an investment. $3.4 million for 30 years or even more if we take care of it; is not a lot of money if you look at if that way,” said school board president Ben Salinas. “It can benefit the kids.”

Soliz continue to state for concerns especially with future state mandated issues and would rather have the money as a “cushion” especially with the district-wide pay raises they committed to.

The project was approved. Motion was made by Lee Ramon, seconded by Herman Arellano and was in favor by Salians, Maggie Perez and Albert Molina. Solis voted against the project and Ciro Zamora was not present at the meeting.

The board also approved a dressing room at the Alice Coyote Softball Complex and an agriculture mechanic shop. They also approved to have the job order contracting and competitive sealed proposals as the preferred methods of construction.

The process begins immediately with surveys, detailed designs and request for proposals to complete all three facilities by August 2020, according to the school district.