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Forney ISD delivering the Future of Education - Opportunity Central

State-of-the-art, innovative campus designed for career, college and community opportunities breaks ground

Keith Bell family and FISD Board of Trustees

Texas Tech President Dr. Schovanec and Admin with FISD Board

FISD Board and Dallas College Eastfield President Dr. Tealer and Admin

Forney Independent School District Board of Trustees joined with city, county and state officials and leadership from Dallas College and Texas Tech University for the official fanfare and groundbreaking ceremony of The Keith Bell Opportunity Central (The OC).

The OC is a 350,000 sq ft, three-story building designed to bring career training, college access, and community integration into one campus. Scheduled to open in 2023, students from Forney High School and North Forney High School will enroll in innovative programs offered on the campus and will be bused in throughout the day.

“This facility is designed with flexible spaces that can be transformed to accommodate future career and college programs, various sizes of events, student-led initiatives and business partnerships to give students real-world experiences,” remarked Dr. Justin Terry, superintendent of Forney ISD.

The facility will operate extended hours and weekends for various events and recreational opportunities including classes for adults and the community. Business opportunities are available for eateries, retail and service providers interested in extending  learning experiences for students in addition to offering services to the community.

Programs to be offered at The OC include: automotive, construction technology, computer coding and e-sports, fine arts, entrepreneurship, fashion design, horticulture/floral design, digital arts and communication, marketing, health sciences, emergency services, cosmetology, early childhood education, hospitality, event planning, theater, visual and performing arts,  music production and more coming soon.

Dual credit enrollment continues to grow at FISD. Currently, 600 students are enrolled in classes where they are receiving high school and college credit through Dallas College. Dallas College will continue dual credit classes to high school students in addition to other offerings such as Welding and HVAC courses currently being offered to students and the adult community.

“We are delighted to continue our services with Forney ISD and the community,” said Dr. Eddie Tealer, president of the Dallas College Eastfield Campus. “It is our mission to bring career and academic services for advancement and enrichment of the students we serve.”

The Texas Tech regional site at the OC will function differently than other sites because it will offer new and innovative degree programs and certifications that cater to future job markets. While no specific programs have been announced yet, TTU is looking forward to undergraduate, graduate and post-graduate levels in Forney. In addition to academic programs, TTU will offer continuing education classes and certificates, as well as classes through Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) for individuals 50 years of age and older.

“When Dr. Terry presented the vision of The OC, we [Texas Tech] responded enthusiastically to his invitation to partner with Forney ISD and Dallas College to bring innovative programs to this area,” said Dr. Lawrence Schovanec, president of TTU.

Forney residents will have access to space on The OC campus for meetings, recreation, tournaments, concerts, trade shows, banquets, college classes, theater productions and businesses operating inside. Local families will also be able to take advantage of an early childhood center, a 600-seat blackbox theater, a coffee shop, and more.

The community integration aspect is what makes this facility unique. “The more opportunities we can provide to involve our community into creating experiences for students to learn will produce the best possible outcomes for everyone,” said Greg Pharris, president of the Forney ISD School Board.

The facility namesake, Keith Bell, and his family and friends were present for the ceremony in addition to Gallagher construction and Huckabee architects.

Eighty students from Forney High School and North Forney High School under the direction of Cody Newman and Jim Gist performed the Texas Tech fight song while confetti cannons added to the festive celebration.

During the evening, lighting and projections were choreographed on a large screen, engineered by FHS technical theater teacher Jacob Thomas and theater students. The projection show featured the highlights of The OC. Clay Honeycutt the floral design teacher and his students who operate Blooms at Forney ISD created the floral arrangements, balloon structure and assisted in the event set-up and take-down.

In addition to remarks by FISD Superintendent Dr. Justin Terry and FISD Board President Greg Pharris, the program included dignitaries from Dallas College including Dr. Eddie Tealer, president of the Dallas College Eastfield Campus; Dr. Lawrence Schovanec President of Texas Tech University; and Forney Mayor Amanda Lewis.

The OC is being built across from the newly opened Jackson Middle School and Rhodes Intermediate campus on Innovation Blvd.