Katy, Texas (September 30, 2013) – Katy ISD has a proud and rich history of FFA and agricultural sciences excellence. As one of the District’s oldest and most storied programs, it boasts one of the state’s largest FFA chapters at Katy High School. Across all campuses, more than 3,000 students are involved in agricultural sciences programs.
When you hear about FFA, the first image that may come to mind is probably of a student raising and showing a farm animal. The FFA program, however, is more than just learning about how to raise livestock. Students who participate in FFA learn about time management, public speaking, entrepreneurship, decision making, marketing, media relations and hone their leadership skills and gain confidence, all while learning the value of community service.
Katy ISD also benefits monetarily from the FFA programs. Students who participated in FFA last year received approximately $80,000 in scholarships, and those who participated in the Katy ISD Livestock Show received $576,854 from the sale of their animals. In addition, the Katy Rodeo generates approximately $50,000 that is put toward Katy ISD’s agricultural programs.
As enrollment figures in Katy ISD continue to climb, there is a direct impact on instructional programs and facilities. Built in 2004 when the Katy only had four high schools, the District has now outgrown the existing L.D. Robinson Pavilion where students display their animals during the Katy ISD FFA Livestock Show. Because of the limited amount of space at its current location near the Merrell Center, there is no room for growth or expanded instructional opportunities.
On November 5, voters in Katy ISD will consider a bond authorization package that includes construction of an Agricultural Sciences Center on Katy-Hockley Cutoff Road. The Agricultural Sciences Center project is a multi-faceted expansion of the existing Gerald D. Young Center to provide a variety of learning and special event opportunities once the phased project is completed.
The Agricultural Sciences Center was designed by a cross section of community representatives who are deeply involved with the Katy ISD FFA program and the Katy Rodeo, as well as staff members and teachers. During the design process, the committee identified several issues that an expanded Agricultural Sciences Center would address:
- Student safety and convenience by having the barns and show pavilion at the same place;
- The ability to reduce animal safety risk caused by travel to and from the barns and show pavilion, as well as more space in holding areas;
- The negative impact on Katy High School and Merrell Center operations due to the lack of parking when large FFA events are held at the L.D. Robinson Pavilion;
- Additional aquaculture and biosciences opportunities;
- Strategic investment in a long-term solution by providing a facility that can grow with the District.
Other Student Activity Facilities projects that are part of the bond referendum include a Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (S.T.E.M.) Project Center, and a second stadium. Together, these projects cost $99 million and it is anticipated that the sale of these bonds will not raise the tax rate beyond the current $.40 rate for debt service.
The Katy ISD bond election will be held on November 5, 2013 in conjunction with the general election. Katy ISD residents who are not registered to vote have until next Monday, October 7, 2013 to register. Early voting will take place from October 21 – November 5, 2013. Voters will be required to show a form of photo identification at the polling location before they will be permitted to cast a vote.
For more information about the Agricultural Sciences Center, as well as the other Student Activity Facilities projects, and voting location dates and times, visit the District’s website at www.katyisd.org.