Timpson ISD dedicates new Timpson Event Center and Collegiate Center

New $9.5 million, 55,000-square foot facility already making a positive difference in students' lives

Timpson Independent School District hosted a dedicatory ceremony for the recently completed TISD Collegiate Center and Event Center on Monday afternoon with students, area college dignitaries and community members on hand.

The event kicked off inside the TISD Event Center, moved outside for a ribbon cutting with guests moving to the TISD Collegiate Center. There attendees got to hear students whose lives have been impacted by the district's dual college credit before touring the facilities.

TISD Superintendent Dr. Mid Johnson provided background on the history of the new facilities.

“In 2016 and some time before then, the board of TISD had the forethought to call for the election of a $9-and-a-half million bond project for the construction of this exciting new facility,” Johnson said. The new 55,000-square-foot Collegiate Center, gym, dressing areas, stage, weight area, classrooms, commons area and vocational educational area “is our dream.”

He said the facility should be a source of pride for the Timpson area and the entire community for years to come.

“One of the programs this center houses that we're most proud of is our new collegiate and vocational educational facility,” Johnson said. “It serves over 150 current college students enrolled in TISD concurrently enrolled in college courses here on our campus.”

He said the effort to provide Timpson students will the opportunity to earn college credit while in high school is due to a lot of planning and effort along with strong partnerships with Panola College, SFA State University and other institutions of higher learning.

“We are extremely proud and grateful for the work they have done for us in that endeavor,” Johnson said. “I would like to thank everyone who has had a part in this.”

He said the resulting facility is a testament to the power of vision and dreaming.

“I encourage everyone to believe in a dream and to hope and to know you can achieve,” Johnson said as he turned to students in the crowd. “Students, people will tell you all your lives that you can't do something, or they will put limitations in front of you — but you have to believe and confidence and have the resilience to fight through that and know that you can achieve and that you can dream and you can be successful,” he said.

After the dedication, Stephanie Behrens, Timpson ISD Dean of Collegiate Center, addressed a group touring the facility. She said district officials and students were very appreciative of the support the district has gotten from its college partners like Panola College and SFA State University.

“We've come a long way in three years. When we started off here it was a small vision with about 15 students, so we're really proud of the fact we have 158 students out of about 250 high school kids working towards this,” Behrens said of participation in dual credit and college readiness programs.

Panola College President Dr. Gregory Powell congratulated the Timpson ISD Board of Trustees and Johnson for the accomplishment of seeing the vision of seeing the TISD Collegiate Center and Event Center through to becoming a reality.

“I also want to express our appreciation for the valued partnership we have have with Timpson,” Powell said. “You are actually the largest population that Panola College serves in the area of dual credit and we very much appreciate that.”

Powell said Timpson ISD officials have also been instrumental in Panola's core curriculum which helps ensure students are successful in college is going to be a part of the college's quality enhancement plan during its reaccreditation effort.

“You may not be aware, but colleges and universities have to be reaccredited every 10 years and they must choose something to focus on, and we're focusing on student success,” Powell said. “You have been instrumental in helping us with that.”

Powell singled out Timpson ISD's increase in offerings to students in the career technical educational as another area the district has excelled.

“Thanks for your participation in the eighth grade events and in creating that college going culture,” he said. “I don't know of anyone who has done a better job than you have here in Timpson.”

Stephen F. Austin State University's Provost for Academic Affairs, Dr. Steve Bullard said the efforts of Timpson ISD officials and board members are making a positive difference in the lives of students and the community as a whole.

“The Collegiate Center and our partnership with TISD in that respect is all about helping you grow a mindset to practice and learn and therefore to create a better future,” Bullard said.

“The reason we're partnering with TISD and look forward to working with Panola College and other partners here is because we want to know you, we want to build a relationship with the students, the faculty and the families of Timpson because it is through that relationship that we'll have a stronger and stronger partnership,” he said.

Johnson introduced Dr. Russell Marshall, a 1977 graduate of Timpson High School who went on to become the youngest school superintendent in Texas and was twice honored by the Region VII Education Service Center as Superintendent of the Year.

Marshall said the opportunity to visit TISD offered him a time to reflect on his years on the district's campuses.

“Never in my wildest dreams did I think someone would have the foresight to bring this to Timpson, Texas,” Marshall said.

“The starting to a better world is the belief it is possible,” he told students. “Young men and women it's possible that you can be whatever you want to be.”

See complete story and photos in this week's print edition of The Light and Champion.

For more photos from Monday's event, please click here:

Check out photos from Monday TISD dedication ceremony