By Sam Kaufman

March 26, 2020 – Andrews County News

At its past two Tuesday meetings, the commissioners court approved payments for several projects being funded by Waste Control Specialists’ tax money that goes to the county.

On Tuesday, the court approved payments from the Legacy Fund to the school district for work on the new Andrews Food Pantry facility on school owned property in southwest Andrews across from Underwood Elementary. Two payments totaling approximately $130,000 were approved for construction services by Stiles, Wallace & Associates.

The project appears to be advancing well.

The Food Pantry will soon move from its NE 5th St. location to its brand new building and an expanded parking lot area. The $1.25-million project was approved by the Legacy Committee and commissioners court for WCS funds. Andrews Food Pantry Board President Austin Chaney said last month the goals was to potentially make the move into the new facility before summer, but those plans could change with the recent COVID-19 threat.

The Andrews Food Pantry has been looking to make a move from its present location in one of the school district’s former kindergarten units in northeast Andrews for several years.

That facility is owned by the school district, which also pays for overhead costs with Food Pantry use.

A similar set-up will occur when the new facility is constructed—it will be owned by AISD and the school district will cover overhead costs, Andrews ISD Superintendent Bobby Azam said.

A modern and larger facility will greatly enhance the Food Pantry’s operation. The present building is too small. Additionally, the parking area at the NE 5th St. location is relegated mostly to residential streets. On busy days, vehicles line the streets for a couple of blocks. The new location will include a larger parking area and parking opportunities associated with the former school building that was replaced with a new facility around 10 years ago, according to Azam.

“One of the things we’re excited about is that we’ll have an actual parking lot so we don’t have to congest a residential street anymore,” Chaney added.

The facility will also include new equipment such as refrigerators and freezers, along with an office computer.

“Brand new equipment will make the Food Pantry easier to run and more efficient,” Chaney said.

Last week, the court approved a request from Andrews County Judge Charlie Falcon to complete the Life Center parking lot project for $131,000 in WCS funds as approved by the Legacy Committee. Commissioners also approved a change order/revised bid from Edgardo Madrid & Associates in the amount of $258,000—or an increase of around $130,000 from the original bid, resulting from an error in calculation of the total project square footage as presented in the original bid specifications, the agenda states.