By Brandi Hutcheson
The Amarillo College board of regents on Nov. 27 authorized a contract agreement to sell 780 acres of land near the East Campus.
The contract agreement will take place between the previously approved foundation, the Amarillo Foundation for Education and Business, and the private developmental group, PRANA. The foundation is to authorize all decisions made for the land’s prospected industrial development by the developmental group. Three representatives from AC and two from PRANA make up the foundation.
Terry Berg, vice president for business affairs, said the college might see about $10 million in revenue over the course of the agreement.
“The board of regents will have to make that decision as to what to do with the funds that are received,” Berg said. “From my aspect, it will affect students and faculty by having revenue from a $10 million investment flow back into the operations of the college, depending on what the board of regents wants to do.
“I’m glad we’re doing something with the excess land out there.”
In accordance with the agreement, PRANA will buy the land in increments over the course of 25 years as needed for each project.
The land is bought at 25 cents per square foot, and the rate will increase annually.
Joe Wyatt, communications coordinator in College Relations, said the college stands to expand its tax base through the agreement.
PRANA must meet benchmarks throughout the course of the contract, through which it is required to buy 450 acres in the first 20 years. That purchase alone will yield $5 million in revenue for AC.
“The whole idea is that industry moves into the area and takes advantage of the land and the adjacency to the college out there where there’s a potential work force being developed,” Wyatt said.
“We stand to do better in our tax base because of an influx of industry out there.
“The better they do, the better we do.”
According to Wyatt, the college will have the first chance to assess the new industries that will be developed on the property and the opportunity to develop work force training programs for the new industries.
“When industry moves in, we’ll have the first crack as a college at saying we can develop a training program specifically for your plant, for your needs,” he said.
“With those kinds of opportunities, it’s not just win-win, it’s wins throughout for both the college and PRANA.”
The college is able to sell property through a foundation to a developmental agency without the use of advertising or bids, in accordance with local government regulations.