As part of the overall bond program that systematically works to address needs in the district, Mustang Public Schools brought a smaller, focused bond issue to the voters in 2014. A combination of factors including lower interest costs, rising property values spread across a growing population and retiring debt made this issue possible in the bond program.
MPS has spent years simply trying to keep up with growth. The district grew by more than 800 students between 2014-2015 and 2015-2016. This bond issue allowed the district to touch the lives of students through programs that make a difference to them. The bond issue provided special emphasis on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and math) and provided additional opportunities for four programs: JROTC, Baseball, Vo-Ag and Softball. These are the kinds of programs where a student can find a niche - somewhere to belong and somewhere to be successful. These are the kinds of programs that keep kids in school through graduation. The bond also included $1 million for a storm shelter at Mustang Education Center, which houses the majority of Mustang's pre-kindergarten students, and the installation of additional storm shelters on the MHS campus.
The $7 million bond issue set aside $1.4 million for a JROTC center. The 8,800 square foot facility includes a common drill space area, a classroom, bathrooms with changing areas, two offices and more. MA+ Architecture designed the building.
The program got its start in the old crafts building, which was originally the district's bus barn in the 1940s. When Mustang High School underwent a multimillion dollar renovation and expansion, the crafts building was razed to make room for new buildings. The Bronco Battalion moved into three classrooms at MHS, had storage in a different location and had drill practice in the 1946 PE building or the 1964 gym.
"At the most basic level, this new facility will free up classrooms and space on the MHS campus as our student population continues to grow," McDaniel said. "Perhaps more importantly, the new facility will be a form of validation - that the community understands the value of the program and the commitment the students have to excellence."
Mustang's Bronco Battalion was established in June 2005 and quickly gained notoriety as one of the most successful programs in the state. It wasn't long before the program was known nationally at the Army JROTC Academic and Leadership Bowl Championship in Washington D.C. The Bronco Battalion is one of two in the world out of 1,732 programs to qualify six teams for the competition in recent years.
The baseball/softball practice facility was completed in 2015. The concrete block and metal building is 8550 square feet and located next to the MHS baseball field on Juniper Drive. The new facility includes movable netting, which is flexible enough to be moved into multiple configurations or pulled aside completely to allow teams to take fielding practice.
The building is currently configured to include five 75-foot cages and five 25-foot cages. Movable mats that include a painted home plate will protect the turf. The baseball booster club bought the pitching machines. The building also includes two bathrooms, a custodial closet, electrical closet/storage, multi-purpose room for changing and filming and a girls' changing area.