Donor of $7 million to Mart ISD explains reason behind gift - KXXV-TV News Channel 25 - Central Texas News and Weather for Waco, Temple, Killeen |

Donor of $7 million to Mart ISD explains reason behind gift

Source: KXXV Source: KXXV
MART, TX (KXXV) -

One of the donors of $7 million dollars to the Mart Independent School District said it was important for her family to give back to a district that they believed had an instrumental part in their lives.

James Lee Davis who does oil and gas and consulting work and his family gave $6 million dollars to go toward the building process. The district will also use $9.2 million from a bond package approved by voters on Nov. 7.  

“Completely surprised. I’ve never heard of an alumni, especially in a school our size, donate that much money,” Mart Interim Superintendent Len Williams said.

In addition, $1 million donated by the Davis family will go toward scholarships in memory of Dorothy Schneider Davis, the mother of Maddox. Several members of the family donating the money went to school in Mart. 

"My dad has always felt like Mart schools made a difference for him in his life. That was because he thought he had the best teachers and they prepared him in all the subjects," said donor Sandra Maddox, the daughter of James L. Davis.

She said the family wants students to continue succeeding as they have until now. For instance, this year, each Mart ISD campus earned academic achievements.

"If you actually believe as my dad does and my family as well that nothing makes as much of a difference in a person's ability to succeed in life as a nice foundation in education. Then, it’s the greatest gift you can give besides love," Maddox said.

Williams said the high school was built in 1929 and has several structural issues, such as needing a new roof and rebuilding it would have a $4 million price tag. In addition, he said it was costly to maintain. In order to save money, Williams said high school students are taking classes at the former elementary school campus.

"We don't want to take a step back in academics and we think with the new facility, this will really help save money that can be channeled into academics,” Williams said.

The district expects to break ground on the new high school next spring. It will include 21 to 24 classrooms with a state of the art science and technology lab.  A new agriculture classroom and shop area will also be built as part of the career and technology areas.

Sara Sheffield who is the president of the Mart Elementary Parent Teacher Organization has two children attending Mart Elementary. She looks forward for them to be able to enjoy the newly built high school.

"They will get to take advantage of a state of the art, wing of a new high school. It's unbelievable,” Sheffield said.

She is also thankful for the family who supported part of this effort.

"We are so grateful for the Davis family for helping us achieve something that wouldn't have been possible,” Sheffield said.

Williams said he hopes the new building attracts more residents to Mart.

"I'm hoping newcomers to McLennan and let them look toward the Eastern part of the county and maybe attract some growth from those individuals," Williams.

The high school is expected to be completed in August of 2019.

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