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Private, anti-terrorism firm given 30 days to seal deal

SSC sold
Private, anti-terrorism firm given 30 days to seal deal

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JOEY DAUBEN

The Ellis County Press

ELLIS COUNTY - The county-owned Superconducting Super Collider property has reportedly been sold for $8.5 million.

A special meeting was called by the Ellis County Commissioners Court Tuesday, Dec. 31 to seal the deal with ProTac Global, a private anti-terrorism training firm, and its parent company, Mensaur Inc.

ProTac officials announced their intentions to buy the property last year, and a deal was reported to have been reached in June, according to a local daily newspaper.

Joe Grubbs, county attorney, said a 30-day period would allow the firm to finalize all the monetary transactions.

If the firm cannot agree to the terms within the allotted time frame, the sale, according to Commissioner Ron Brown and Treasurer Ron Langenheder, becomes void.

The decision to sell the property once intended to study the origin of the universe caused an uproar among citizens, who said the SSC buildings could be used for additional jail space or office buildings.

'That building could have been used for so many things,' said Brown, who also noted his approval for the deal - as long as the price was right. 'Hard to turn down $8.5 million. If we turned back the clock, $8.5 wouldn't have been enough. But after spending $10 million on the [jail, justice center], $8.5 [million] sounds good.'

Commissioners, excluding Brown, backpedaled on the idea of turning the SSC into jail space, and after issuing $18 million worth of tax notes to construct government buildings residents didn't want, the county attempted to sell its assets, including the 440-acre county farm, whose sale is also being discussed.

The jail and justice center have been plagued by extensive mold and water damage, and both were built using the same general contractor.

ProTac President Ron Reid said last year his firm plans to convert underground tunnels into gun ranges and have mock disaster training scenarios built for local, state and federal law enforcement agents.

The local economy could generate a boost due to the fact many of the anticipated agencies will have personnel eat, lodge and shop in the county, according to Reid and ex-County Judge Al Cornelius.

The federal government halted spending on the $12 billion boondoggle in the early 90s, with pieces of the property being distributed back to state and county officials. Cornelius sought the return of the SSC back to the county and was also opposed to turning the facility into future office, jail space.

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