With hardhats on and shovels in hand, Arlington school district officials broke ground on the Agricultural Science Center set to open this fall in Dalworthington Gardens.
The 23,000-square-foot facility, which will have 54 pens for goats and sheep, 14 pens for heifers, rabbit pens, a metal construction and two classrooms, is another opportunity for growth in the district, board President Jamie Sullins said at the groundbreaking event.
The most notable aspect about the facility, which officials said should not be misconstrued as a barn, is its many sustainable features, said Sloan Harris of VLK Architects.
It will have a solar array and a wind turbine to power the facility and a rain-harvesting system for irrigation, Harris said.
“In an ideal situation with those systems, it is considered a net zero, meaning that it can be powered independently off the grid, which is an incredible feat,” Harris said.
Arlington students have more opportunities than ever before, and with buildings like this facility, the district can provide students with tangible experiences, certifications and coursework to help them attain skills in and out of the classroom, Superintendent Marcelo Cavazos said.
“It teaches discipline, service, commitment, persistence. Those things that carry you through the rest of your life,” Cavazos said.
As of now, most ag students rely on agreements with community members to house their animals, according to the Star-Telegram archives.
“This new center opens doors for our students here in Arlington. Students that didn’t have the land to house an animal or agriculture classes weren’t offered at their school now have the opportunity to participate and learn just as much as other students in the district,” Kristen Clark, Martin High School agricultural science teacher and Future Farmers of America adviser said in a city news release.
A neighboring business owner who was concerned about odors and noise from the center filed a lawsuit, but it was dismissed. Officials have said construction plans include ways to mitigate the center’s impact on the area.
The lawsuit didn’t slow the planning process, said Cindy Powell, the district’s chief financial officer.
The center is at 3210 W. Pioneer Parkway in Dalworthington Gardens.
This report includes material from the Star-Telegram archives.
Rafael Sears: 817-390-7657, @searsrafael