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Midland ISD 'not interested' in taking ownership of Astound Broadband Stadium

Conversations were had between the City of Midland and MISD where an offer for Astound Stadium was suggested.

MIDLAND, Texas — For just over 20 years, Midland ISD has been leasing out Astound Stadium from the City of Midland, using it for events such as football, soccer and graduations.

However, conversations between the two suggest that a more permanent option was floated.

Both the city and Midland ISD confirmed that conversations between the two involved made a suggestion that an offer be made to MISD to own Astound Stadium.

When reached out for comment, the City of Midland released the following statement.

"For more than two decades, the City and Midland ISD has enjoyed a partnership at the Scharbauer Sports Complex. Astound Stadium provides participants and fans with a first-class facility for football, soccer, band, and other events. It is a facility we can all be proud of, and in looking to the future, we want to assure the citizens of Midland it will be well cared for and remain a top-notch stadium.

In planning for the future, the city is looking for the best solution for handling facilities, including those primarily used by Midland ISD. More recently, conversations involving representatives from both entities have included the suggestion of the city offering the football/soccer stadium to Midland ISD for minor consideration. For now, while the long-range planning and conversations occur, the lease agreement with Midland ISD includes an amendment/extension for use.

The city is certainly open to working on an equitable agreement that allows the school district, as the stadium’s primary user, to help fund the maintenance and operations of the stadium at a level needed to sustain its safety, usability, and appearance. We look forward to continued partnership to make it happen."

When reached out for comment, Midland ISD responded with the following statement:

"Midland ISD has utilized the stadium owned by the City of Midland through a lease agreement the past 21 years. We are entering our 22nd year leasing the stadium for football, soccer, and a separate agreement or fee for graduation in recent years and are fortunate to have such a nice stadium for our high school teams to play in and appreciate the City of Midland for making that happen years ago.

As we worked on the lease agreement for this year, our team learned that the city had proposed a new fee structure to the district over a year ago. For the first 20 years of the lease, the city and district had a 20-year lease structure. When that expired, there appear to have been discussions about the need to restructure the lease as the rates had not changed significantly during those 20 years. As we worked on the agreement for this year, we reviewed the numbers from a year ago, and our team found them to be reasonable. We asked for pricing for a one-year lease as well as a five-year lease. It was during the transition with the new city manager coming in, and he had not officially started with the CIty of Midland. It was at that time both entities agreed to the same terms we have had the past 21 years, so that both teams would have time to work on a new fee structure and terms of the lease after this lease expires. 

Informal discussions about the district purchasing the stadium date back to the early 2000s. Several months ago, there were informal discussions asking if the district would be interested in buying the stadium.

The district has many needs related to facilities, and while we do not have an interest in purchasing the stadium at this time, we are certainly willing to work with the City of Midland to negotiate a solution that is beneficial to both entities. We want to be good partners with the City of Midland while also being good stewards of our local taxpayer funds to the district."

On Aug. 10, the school district sent out a press release solidifying their stance on not taking the city's offer. That statement reads as follows:

"Midland ISD is aware of recent reporting by local news media that the city of Midland has offered to give or sell Astound Broadband Stadium to the district.

MISD is not interested in taking ownership of Astound Broadband Stadium and intends on continuing to rent the stadium from the city, as it has done for more than 20 years.

We are focused on ensuring all students graduate ready and prepared for college or career, and with so many existing needs related to MISD facilities, taking ownership of the stadium is not a priority."

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