MW Trustees Vote to Consolidate Fannin Building | Local News

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MINERAL WELLS – The fate of a 107-year-old landmark destroyed by fire last year remains up in the air, but school trustees agreed last week to consolidate Fannin School while considering its future.

“I don’t think demolition should be an option for this building,” Superintendent John Kuhn told administrators. “Because it’s a historic building and an important building for this community.”

The blaze that left the majestic three-story building empty was quickly ruled an arson, and three minors, aged 14 and 15, were arrested within a week of the blaze.

Multiple requests to authorities revealed only that Mineral Wells investigators had turned their case over to the Palo Pinto County Juvenile Probation Department. Neither Juvenile Probation Chief Jeana Poyner nor Palo Pinto County District Attorney Maegan Kostica responded to calls or emails asking if the teens were charged with arson or if the charges had been dropped.

Last week Kuhn outlined three options for the building, which sits next to the senior center. The danger has prompted members of the center to gather at the Immanuel Baptist Church since the fire.

One of Kuhn’s options was demolition, and he advised against it due to the history of the building and the sentiment surrounding it.

The other two options were to make the structure stronger by bracing it with metal bracing or by selling it to a third party. Kuhn said the put option carried the risk that “someone crazy” would buy Fannin and do something the district disapproved of.

“The community feels ownership of this building,” he said.

The administrators were unanimous in approving the reinforcement option, agreeing to hire Phoenix Restoration for $59,970.

“They’re kind of the top dog when you’re talking about a historic building,” Kuhn said.

He said on Tuesday the job is expected to take 14 days, once both parties sign a contract.

In another action on Monday, the council agreed to accept Millsap ISD students into Mineral Wells vocational and technical training courses.

“We’re just giving them an opportunity, – only if we have room for all of our students,” CTE director Deeann Hampton told administrators. “And it’s just based on where we have space.”

An update on the district farm barn included the announcement of a tentative open house date of May 23.

Maintenance manager Bobby Mori pointed out that the May date could easily be postponed.

“Because we’re not going to rush and do things just to do it,” he said.

The David Hardy Livestock Complex will feature Hardy’s name in 20-inch by 16-inch backlit letters to stand out at night. The entire complex will be illuminated at night for security reasons, Mori added.

Windows have been installed which allow the building to be locked down now, he said.

Kuhn also reported Monday that the district was named a semi-finalist for the HEB Excellence in Education Award.

“We’ve been given a truly incredible honor at Mineral Wells ISD,” Kuhn said, praising communications director Karyn Bullock’s work on a detailed application. “Out of 1,500 applications, they selected 25 as semi-finalists. … It’s not an individual, the school board or a teacher – it’s education as a whole, the different things we do as a team .”

Administrators also walked out of a closed session and voted to uphold disciplinary action taken against a student. Kuhn declined to say why the student was disciplined or whether he was in elementary or high school, citing student privacy laws.

“It was a matter of student discipline, and there was an appeal from the student and his representatives,” he said. “And the board upheld the student’s discipline.”

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