A $4 million donation wasn’t enough for one Mart Independent School District alumnus.
Mart native James Lee Davis donated another $3 million to the district over the weekend, after having gifted $4 million in March. Both donations will help fund the construction of a high school.
Board Trustee Russell Carroll said the generosity will serve Mart ISD students well. The last high school opened in 1929.
“It’s like a little miracle, really,” Carroll said.
The most recent gift comes on the heels of voters approving in a 229-to-89 vote a $9.2 million bond for a new high school and other facility improvements. The new high school — expected to open for the 2019-2020 school year — will be attached to the junior high building. School officials have said the campus is expected to have at least 20 new classrooms, a state-of-the-art science and technology lab and new vocational areas.
Board President Frank “Pete” Rowe said area leaders met Saturday night for a banquet to celebrate the bond passing when they learned of the news. Davis’ family dedicated $2 million of the gift to go toward the high school, while the remaining $1 million will be for college scholarships, Rowe said. The high school portion of the funding is intended to create an even better science and math academy, Rowe said.
The Davis family will create a foundation to manage the scholarship funds, he said.
“It will enable us to build a very, very nice school which will help us down the road and help us grow,” Rowe said.
Rowe said he’s been in public education his whole life and has never seen an alum step up to this degree.
“It’s pretty awesome for a little town like Mart,” he said. “It’s pretty phenomenal. He is an unbelievable human being.”
The Davis family has a long history in the city of Mart, Trustee Tracy Adler said.
“It’s great to have people like that in this world,” Adler said.