A community history lesson, robotic dance and a big check were part of the official opening of a new facility that will equip Farmersville students well into the future.
The Farmersville ISD Engineering Academy welcomed officials and guests to a dedication ceremony and tour of the renovated Feagins Supermarket, Thursday, March 15.
The building which houses the district’s expanded engineering pathway is part of the Career and Technical Education program.
Students will learn skills in deductive manufacturing, additive manufacturing, programming, circuitry, electronics, automation and a few high-demand skills.
Superintendent Micheal French kicked off the ceremony by thanking the major community partners in the project, including the city of Farmersville, its economic development corporation and Collin College.
“Collin College is an incredible partner with the ISD,” said French. “And the people I mentioned make that happen. Programs (by themselves) don’t mean anything. People mean everything. Without people, programs don’t matter.”
After board trustee Paul Kelly led the invocation, trustee Brian Brazil shared memories and recognized the importance of the building, known for almost 50 years as Feagins Supermarket.
Brazil said former owner Ray Feagin was instrumental in providing the community, not only a place to shop, but jobs for area youth where many teens learned valuable skills they carried to adulthood.
“The decision to transform Feagin’s Supermarket into the FISD Engineering (academy) was centered on a desire to continue Ray and Lynn (Feagin’s) legacy of service to the community,” Brazil said.
The board of trustees and district leadership team used the creation of the academy as a generational opportunity for FISD students, said Brazil, “providing a unique learning experience that will ignite passions and establish futures in the same way the Feagins have for over 50 years.”
The building was acquired last year from Clint and Curt Feagin, both graduates of Farmersville ISD.
Marcus Edwards, FISD Director of S.T.E.M, spoke about the vision for the center calling Farmersville “a gift to the world.”
“Together we have created a compelling destination for education and innovation,” he said. “Our students will have the utmost confidence for their abilities and skills. Our students will have a life of quality choices and quality opportunities. Thank you everyone for your faith in our community.”
Mayor Bryon Weibold expressed his thanks to the school district and administration for their foresight and willingness to work with the city and to make Farmersville an attractive area to live.
Other speakers included Neil Matkin, president of Collin College and State Representative Jeff Leach.
The ceremony included the presentation of a $332,236 check by Aaron Demerson with Texas Workforce Commission Jobs and Education for Texans (JET) grant.
The grant will help FISD, in partnership with Collin College, purchase equipment to be installed in the academy.
After all the thanks and praise, guests were invited to tour the state-of-the-art technology now housed in the academy.
The building and former motor-bank to the east was purchased in May 2021 for $810,000. District officials estimate the total cost for the engineering academy building and renovations at approximately $1.3 million.
Assistant Superintendent Jason Gomez said given the cost for new construction, the price represents a good value to bring the 10,300 sq. ft. structure to its present state,
“We believe that the purchase and remodel was a great investment in terms of both property and lives impacted,” he said. “In addition, it will and has, just by the appearance, added a great value to the city.”
Grades 9 through 12 will use the facility daily for engineering courses, other grades including junior high and elementary, are expected to use the academy for robotics leagues, camps and school-related activities.
Some of the bigger ticket items that the JET grant has funded, or will in the future, include a CNC mill, mill, lathe, OMAX GlobalMAX waterjet system, 3D printer, MarkForge, CreateBot Peek and long list of related equipment and materials.
Renovations to the motor-bank are expected to be completed this summer.
Plans included developing the facility as additional office space to house the district’s special education department (SPED), which is currently located in the intermediate school.
By Chad Engbrock/ [email protected]