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20140328 Martin Valley Golf lg-26 featureMartin Valley Ranch Golf Course soon will be Howling Trails Golf Course as La Joya ISD is expected to close on purchasing the property this week at a $5 million price tag.

La Joya Independent School District Board of Trustees approved the new name and logo for the golf course at a meeting Monday. The owners of the golf course approached the school district last year to suggest the property when La Joya ISD board members first started talking about a natatorium.

“The idea is to expand our golf program and to provide more opportunities for our kids so we can keep our kids off the street and engaged in other things,” Superintendent Alda Benavides said when the board first agreed to negotiate the sale.

The board now will move plans for the $9 million natatorium to the site, where they also plan to have tennis courts, a student learning assistance center, fields for science experiments and possibly a planetarium.

The learning assistance center is part of an overall plan to have a place in several areas where students can access computers and the Internet.

Also at Monday’s meeting, Athletic Director Victor Garza discussed plans to extend the district’s golf program to include sixth-grade students. It wouldn’t be a new program, he said, just an expansion that wouldn’t cost much to kick off because each of the middle school campuses already have golf equipment.

As early as spring or mid-May, the athletic department will start giving tours of the golf course and helping students understand the game.

“It allows us the opportunity to continue to promote the sport of golf, not so much for a competitive spirit, but as a lifelong sport,” Garza said, adding it’ll better prepare La Joya ISD students to compete with students in other districts that have country clubs and golf courses.

Monday, Benavides emphasized La Joya ISD had no realtor in the process, combating rumors that a board member brokered the deal. She also said the district’s ownership will not interfere with the homes that already exist on the golf course.

“They don’t have to worry about it,” she said.

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