By Ben Posey
Members of the White Settlement Area Chamber of Commerce received a sneak peak of the newly renovated Sam’s Club warehouse building located at 1451 S. Cherry Lane, soon to be home to the Region 11 Education Service Center (ESC Region 11).
ESC Region 11 provides professional development, technical assistance and management of educational programs to 77 public school districts and 52 charter campuses in a 10-county area in North Central Texas.
The Region 11 area includes 65,835 educators and more than 551,503 students. The new ESC Region 11 includes a science lab, print services, and a Classroom of the Future.
Executive Director Dr. Clyde Steelman and Lori Burton from the Communication Services Department guided nearly 30 guests though a maze of rooms and doors in a state of the art building that will house 127 employees and hosts approximately 50,000 visitors a year.
“We will have hosted nearly 1,700 professional development classes for districts across the area this past year,” said Dr. Steelman. “We can have as many as 600 people a day attending some type of training in this new facility.”
Classes can range from bus driver recertification to teacher preparation programs to administrative leadership courses.
The building has multiple meeting rooms with new age technology at attendees’ fingertips. It has its own café area for employees and a café area with food service for visitors. The building has been highly insulated to help block noise from the nearby Naval Air Station and Lockheed.
“We made some of these walls extra thick and dropped down the ceilings in some of the meeting rooms to make sure the noise from the planes flying over did not disrupt work and training,” said Dr. Steelman.
The renovation has cost the ESC Region 11 approximately $20 million with nearly $8 million of that in technology. The money received from the sale of their property along I-35 will hopefully balance out what is spent on the new facility here in White Settlement according to Dr. Steelman.When our founding fathers signed the Declaration of Independence, John Adams envisioned celebrations in every city with parades, fireworks and political speeches “from one end of this continent to the other.” More than two centuries later, Adam’s dream has become reality. This weekend bursting sky-rockets and exploding bombs will illuminate the night skies over cities, parks and lakes. Parading bands will march in the streets followed by decorated floats and mounted horses. Politicians will address crowds from platforms hung with red, white and blue bunting.
The Fourth provides the focus for our American ideals in the words penned by Thomas Jefferson, “We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” Those words provide the theological and philosophical foundation that inspires and guides our nation.
Throughout our history, sociologists have sought the secret of America’s success. After touring the United States in 1830, Alexis de Tocqueville concluded that democracy and freedom worked in America because of America’s faith. He wrote, “Liberty cannot be established without morality, nor morality without faith … despotism may govern without faith, but liberty cannot.” Robert Kaplan’s Empire Wilderness sought a similar re-examination of America in 1998. He reached more pessimistic conclusions than de Tocqueville but expressed the same longing for faith. Visiting a Mexican church in Tucson, Kaplan wrote, “The church conjured up tradition, sensuality, nostalgia. If only this church were more relevant to the social forces roiling the southern half of Tucson.” In The Next One Hundred Million, Joel Kotkin paints an optimistic future for America in 2050 based largely on our unique faith. He writes, “a ‘spiritual’ tradition that extends beyond regular church attendance … persists as a vital force.”
We strive toward equality because that is the way God made us. We are each made in His image and every person is born with infinite worth. We are taught, through faith, to love our neighbor as ourselves, to do unto others as we would have them do unto us, that we are greatest when we are servant to others and that service to God is measured by our actions toward the “least of these.”
But the pursuit of happiness can degenerate into the self-absorbed and destructive pursuit of pleasure. Without faith in Christ we are prone to become captive to addictions and sins that easily beset us. Jesus said, “Everyone who commits sin is the slave of sin … if the Son makes you free you shall be free indeed.” (John 8:34-36).
For every individual and nation, real freedom comes when we are set free from greed, corruption, lust and addiction.