San Marcos CISD parents and former students spent the first few minutes of the school district’s monthly board meeting asking trustees to consider repurchasing a 5-acre site the board voted to sell to developers in 2014.
“All I really ask is that you begin a conversation about how this property can best still be used for the community,” resident Amy Meeks said at Monday night’s meeting.
Meeks is one of several opponents of the Lindsey Hill project, which resurfaced in early December after being voted down by San Marcos planning commissioners in 2016.
The newly revised mixed-use development proposes a combination of apartments for rent and condominiums for purchase as well as retail, dining and green space. There is also a possibility for office space.
The project would sit on the site of the former San Marcos CISD Lamar Annex that housed the Phoenix and Rebound schools and is bounded by Burleson Street, Hutchison Street, Moore Street and Blanco Street.
The site was purchased in 2014 by Philadelphia-based developer Arqeo. The land was appraised at $1.5 million in 2017, according to the Hays County Appraisal District.
Several speakers at Monday’s SMCISD board meeting cited the historic significance of the site—the building was purchased by the school district in the 1920s to use as a high school. Trustees who sat on the school board in 1955 voted to make SMCISD one of the first districts in Texas to become desegregated.
“In that school lies an important and valuable part of the history of San Marcos,” resident Diana Baker said. “If there’s anything that can be done to save that structure, I ask you to be as bold as those school board members were back in 1955.”
Several speakers asked that the building be used for educational purposes and requested the school board put the topic on their agenda in the future.
“There are many of us who are wondering if there’s any way we can relook at that property again becoming part of the community of San Marcos and [be]used as it was intended, and that is in some educational way,” Meeks said.
The area is currently zoned as a public district, which would allow a variety of uses, including bed and breakfasts, farmers markets, sorority and fraternity houses, and duplexes. The developer would only need to obtain building permits in order to proceed with those uses.
School board members did not address anything said during public comment, but trustees Miguel Arredondo and Margie Villapando requested information about the 2014 transaction that sold the property to Arqeo before the board’s January meeting.