San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas

July 28th, 2010
ACC contracts for 72 acres next to San Marcos High


The area outlined in red shows the land contracted by Austin Community College for a San Marcos campus. San Marcos High School is immediately to the north of the area, while Bowie Elementary School is shown on the east. Graphic provided by Austin Community College.


The Austin Community College (ACC) District announced Tuesday that it has contracted for 72 acres just south of San Marcos High School for an ACC campus in San Marcos.

The contract, which is contingent on voter approval for San Marcos CISD to enter the ACC district on Nov. 2, calls for the community college district to pay in $2.8 million to Cottonwood Creek, LTD, for 21 acres. Cottonwood Creek is donating an additional 51 acres. Cottonwood Creek, a planned development that would ultimately straddle Guadalupe Street at Old Bastrop Highway (CR 266) is an interest of Randall Morris.

If San Marcos CISD voters approve their annexation into the ACC district, they would pay an additional 9.46 cents of property taxes per $100 of assessed valuation. Senior citizens and disabled property owners in the proposed annexation zone would receive a $105,000 tax exemption. ACC also offers a $5,000 homestead exemption. San Marcos CISD residents would be able to attend ACC classes for the in-district rate of $42 per credit hour, as opposed to the out-of-district rate of $150 per credit hour. ACC also would build a campus on the Cottonwood Creek site.

San Marcos CISD is forecasting $3.32 billion in property value during its budget deliberations for 2010-11.

“ACC’s master plan calls for building a comprehensive campus in San Marcos, and acquiring the land now is a smart strategy,” says Stephen B. Kinslow, ACC’s president/CEO. “It allows us to proactively plan for growth in order to continue meeting the wide-ranging educational needs of our eight-county, 7,000-square mile service area.”

ACC’s recent land-banking efforts to add campuses include acquisitions in Bastrop, Elgin, Kyle, Leander, and north central Austin totaling $35.4 million.

The community college district’s master plan also includes the construction of campuses in Hays CISD, Bastrop ISD, and Elgin ISD. Like voters in San Marcos CISD, residents of Hays CISD, Bastrop ISD, Elgin ISD, and McDade ISD are considering joining the ACC district. Only registered voters within each area will be eligible to cast a ballot in their local elections this fall.

ACC’s master plan also includes the future construction of a campus in Leander ISD, which already is part of the ACC taxing district. Other areas in the taxing district include the city of Austin and the Austin, Manor, Del Valle, and Round Rock ISDs.

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0 thoughts on “ACC contracts for 72 acres next to San Marcos High

  1. Anybody out there think that public, government-authorized institutions, by law and in the public interest, are exempt from local property taxes? Anybody have an idea about the poor surrounding landowners who’ll have to deal with any aftershock? (Transparently a “bait” question.) And I’d like to visit the proposed site. How do you get out there, again?

    Wow! And the election hasn’t even been held yet! Hope nobody gets burned.

    Didn’t the newest promo information say the tuition bargain was $37 per semester hour or something, not $42? Oh, well….

  2. I would like to have them commit to completing all other feasibility before the election leaving them only one reason to terminate after the election – that being the failure of the referendum. Furthermore, the referendum should obligate ACC to spend no less than a certain amount to construct a campus. I for one would like to get something tangible for my tax dollar. I don’t want to see this thing pass and have ACC weasel out of building a top-notch campus. Furthermore, when should they change the name from AUSTIN Community College to Central Texas Community College.

  3. Sounds like a great deal for Randall Morris, maybe not the rest of us. It seems pretty presumptuous of ACC to contract the land ahead of the election. I’d like to see a provision that says ACC taxes collected in Hays County stay in Hays County.

  4. What kind of “megamouth shark” can expand by seven locations at once and promise folks in all the moon and a team of golden ponies in the near future, and for today’s bargain price. Why do I think of a siding salesman with a deal good “only if you sign while I’m here?”

    And why on earth do the very same NAMES, however concealed, keep coming up, related to these questionable deals? Shhhhh!… I’m thinking. (Maybe the ecologists are right, and everything in a system really is interconnected. Us who pay the price, however, are invited only to watch in dumb awe, and see the photo-ops at the unveiling.)

  5. Winchester: “their last Hays County land purchase” from whom? I honestly don’t recall. I’d like to have the comparison you are making in front of me…

  6. He might be talking about the “deal” the County made for new government center on Wonder World next to Willow Creek?
    The County gave WCCarson the land it owned on I35 (where the ambulances park) and Carson “donated” like 35 acres for the government center, in the 100 year flood plain… just a guess.

  7. The Kyle ACC land purchase, was about $120K per acre, but then it’s other people’s money so what does ACC care.

  8. Austin Statesman about a month ago. 1626, Kohler’s Crossing and the railroad tracks form three sides of the tract.. Add to that the 100 acres in Leander, 87 in Bastrop, 98 in Elgin,and Highland Mall. They have been busy little bees.

  9. Winchester: Thanks so much for the comparison. But I wonder: Is there really land in Hays County that can be bought for so little? I’m kinda used to the State average cost of rural land, which is, or has been until blindingly recently, about $1500/acre. Except for land near roads and utility and other services–by now I-35 land probably STARTS at $30K/acre. The closer to civilization (development and improvement) and better it is, the more likely it is to sell by the square foot. Even AFTER annexation, extension of services to the High School, ratification of the disputed and resolved McCarty Lane Project, etc., the land is THAT cheap? How and why reckon the owners gave it up so easily? [Can the post-Bush economy really be still THAT bad? Since the drought, even growing hay out there has some worth on the market, and agricultural tax exemptions offer some shelter.]

    I take back what I said earlier about the impact on neighboring owners. Their values just went through the roof, as long as they can pay the taxes. Wow! Maybe the Hays County Appraisal District or its web site would know? Wonder why nobody has heard a peep from those adjacent owners? Even before Randall’s generous act. Even since.

    Still, none of that will change my suspicion about the true long-term benefits for those who may vote us into (what seems to be a sort of likely prospect) an ACC tax base of 2.6 million people, or so, at 10 cents/$100 valuation. It’s a LOT of income money, but then, the ACC grand plan is aimed at a half-dozen new satellite campuses, not just ours. That is a LOT of promised outlay and a LOT of staffing, etc. Sure hope Williamson and Bastrop Counties’ new ACCs don’t have any priority over Hays.

    But then what is to become of the SMCISD facilities ACC has already been using? Surely not a dead asset. Surely not sale to a private concern at a bargain. Surely not to the City or County? (Just remembered again that I also pay local school property taxes, so I own a piece of that end, too.)

  10. Good luck finding any $1500 per acre land here now.

    As for the per square foot pricing, sure, on real commercial property; but the Kyle ACC tract doesn’t qualify in my opinion.

    And just think as more and more land comes off the tax rolls because it’s a school or government center, the tax base shrinks, so you get to pay more.

  11. Aw, gee, Craig… you’re just not thinking about those poor little poor kids. Whom we could more cheaply just GIVE the scholarships, without all this argument. Maybe I am handicapped by those old men who told me a long time ago something like, “Never buy the cow if you can get the milk free.” Until now, I never knew what they meant.

    And having had a long heart-to-heart with Ms. Porterfield, I am told the folks in the “Barrio de Pescado,” among others, are really EAGER to get this ticket to the future for their kids. I told her I hope they don’t eventually realize that this is just another one of those false hopes being peddled to these citizens who have more than just ONE dog in the hunt. If they actually are being led down the primrose path yet again, I will be as angry and disappointed as they are. It may sound generous, but it’s just not right.

    I may or may not vote for Kim, whom I have known and liked since she was a cub reporter, and all the time she suffered through reporting those City meetings. But I don’t think I have yet bought the ACC “branding” pitch (which they are spending some SERIOUS TV money on. I worry about Kim’s inherent goodness of heart, frankly. Am I the only one that sees this stuff?

    Thanks for bringing this issue back to the front burner. It’s really quite a BIG DEAL. Kim seemed to think we would be getting a really big bargain (think shopping). I reminded her, yes, apparently, but we will be paying for the up-front discount FOREVER. Maybe she and Daniel see it as an opportunity for local kids to get jobs here in local business and stick around. Why could they not have the entry level jobs NOW, I ask? I strove long and hard to get businesses to pay kids a small wage for a small job, and learn as they go. But people told me they were too much of a burden and a risk. Go figure.

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