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Quality of Life
Winter, spring, summer, or fall, there's always something to do in the Wichita Falls area! There are opportunities to boat, fish, swim, hunt, bike, hike, etc. in the area, even mountain climbing and rappelling in the Wichita Mountains not far to the north! With plenty of clear days and warm temperatures for most of the year, you can participate in outdoor activities almost year round!
The area’s climate is classified as continental. Temperatures reach a daily high of 90+ degrees an average of 104 days while temperatures fall to 32 degrees or less an average of 67 days per year. Normal rainfall for the year is 28.8 inches, with the greatest part in the form of showers. Over 75% of the annual moisture occurs during the period of late March to mid-November. Average annual snowfall is 5.8 inches. Dry periods of 3-4 weeks can be expected, especially during the summer.
Air Quality (Nonattainment and Near Nonattainment Areas)
Wichita Falls, Texas is located outside of the Dallas/Fort Worth nonattainment area.
A Nonattainment area is an area that has not achieved compliance with the National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS). These nonattainment counties were designated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). They are designated based on their air quality monitoring data.
Near nonattainment means an area is very close to falling into non compliance with the NAAQS. These counties have been designated by the TCEQ Office of Policy and Regulatory Development for planning reasons. These counties either have an ozone monitor or are part of a metropolitan statistical area (MSA) that has an ozone monitor. It is very uncertain at this point which near nonattainment counties, if any, will ultimately be designated by the EPA as nonattainment.
Wichita Falls was recently ranked among the country’s top 10 best real estate markets. This incentive makes buying a quality home in Wichita Falls more affordable than in other comparable real estate markets.
The Wichita Falls Association of Realtors MLS covers seven counties in North Texas and includes all property types. For more information on residential housing in the Wichita Falls region, visit http://www.wfar.com/.
The Wichita Falls area has four Independent School Districts that are leaders among Texas public schools. Wichita Falls ISD is a school district of 14,986 students that offers a wide range of educational opportunities for families. WFISD schools have been recognized for educational excellence across the state of Texas with Exemplary and Recognized schools and numerous Gold Performance Awards for student academic performance. Further, WFISD is proud to boast numerous National Merit Semifinalist, Commended, Hispanic Scholar and African-American Scholar honors awarded students each year.
In 2007, WFISD was ranked among the most outstanding school districts in the U.S., receiving a “blue ribbon”, according to Expansion Management magazine’s Education Quotient. Expansion Management Magazine published its’ 16th Annual Education Quotient ranking 2,800 school districts to provide prospective businesses with a means to compare the type of manufacturing work force they’re likely to encounter in communities throughout the U.S. More recently, all three Wichita Falls high schools were ranked among the top 1,300 best schools in the nation according to a study conducted by Newsweek magazine. Large numbers of Wichita Falls students who take rigorous high school coursework propelled all three local high schools onto Newsweek magazine's list of the top 1,300 U.S. High Schools. The magazine ranked Wichita Falls High School at #317, Rider High School at #399, and Hirschi High School at #1308. Furthermore, preliminary TAKS test results for WFISD show district students outperforming state counterparts in some areas by as much as 10 percentage points. Of the 27 areas tested over 9 grades, WFISD students surpassed or were equal to state results in 22 areas. Eighth grade math and science results showed WFISD students performed as much as 10% points higher than the state, with fifth graders performing 7% points higher in math.
A unique feature of Wichita Falls ISD since 1997 is the “School Choice” plan. The district has no secondary “attendance zones”. Instead, parents have the opportunity to “choose” the schools they wish their children to attend. Elementary students attend their attendance zone school or choose an elementary magnet school. Magnet schools feature International Baccalaureate and Advanced Placement courses, college credit courses, an engineering program, specialty Fine Arts programs, Montessori learning, and Leadership Academy curriculum. For more information visit http://www.wfisd.net/.
In addition to the above mentioned public school systems, Wichita Falls has an excellent selection of private schools including one for children of German Pilot Instructors at Sheppard Air Force Base and one that specializes in individualized learning. Additionally, you will find a large network of home schooling participants.
Notre Dame Catholic School
With 263 students and 30 teachers the school has Montessori (3-4 year olds), Pre-K (4 year olds), and K-12 grades. Notre Dame embodies high standards of academic and spiritual development.
Meeting the needs of parents and students, this 3K - 8th grade program has a total enrollment of 252 and 45 teachers.
Bible Baptist Christian School
Focusing on the spiritual and academic growth of children grades K-12, with 11 students and 3 supervisors, the school places the Bible at the center of their programs.
Bright Ideas Charter Schools
Founded in 1985 to teach kids to be creative, productive, and critical thinkers, this gifted program has 180 students grades Pre-K-12 and 15 teachers.
Wichita Christian School
A uniquely Christian perspective offers curriculum for grades 3K - 12th with all 53 teachers holding degrees in education and a student population of 280.
Agape Christian School
Using the A BEKA phonics-based Christian curriculum the school has 74 students and 13 teachers in 4K -12th grades.
Four institutions of higher education offer Associates, Baccalaureate and Professional degrees in the Wichita Falls region.
Midwestern State University (MSU)
Midwestern State University has been preparing students for successful careers since 1922. The campus, located just two hours from the Dallas-Ft. Worth metroplex, is home to 6,000 students.
The university consists of six academic colleges that offer a total of 43 undergraduate and 24 graduate degree programs including the only Master of Science in Radiologic Sciences in the nation.
The majority (63 %) of MSU students are traditional age (18-24). They participate in a number of on-campus activities and bring a spirit of competition to athletics. Females make up 58 percent of the student body. More than 95 percent of classes are taught by professors, not graduate assistants, in classes which average fewer than 30 students each. The student-to-faculty ratio is 19:1. Study abroad opportunities include a summer program in London, an exchange program with the Monterrey Institute of Technology in Mexico, a full semester program in Pontlevoy, France and more.
Midwestern State provides a quality education and offers tuition and fee rates that are among the lowest in the state. In addition, almost 60 percent of our students receive financial aid to help defray the costs of attaining their educational goals.
MSU is an NCAA Division II member and competes in the Lone Star Conference. Men’s sports include football, soccer, basketball and tennis, and women’s sports are soccer, volleyball, basketball, tennis, softball, golf and cross country. In addition, MSU teams have won national championships in the club sports of cycling and weightlifting.
For further information, search our website at http://www.mwsu.edu/ .
MSU Fall 2007 Graduates by Degree
Vernon College is a comprehensive state-supported community college that integrates education with opportunity through instructional programs and student services. Vernon College promotes a culture of success for students through learner-centered quality instructional programs and exemplary services. The mission of Vernon College is teaching, learning, and leading. The college provides technical programs up to two years in length leading to associate degrees or certificates; freshman and sophomore courses in arts and sciences, including the core and field of study curricula leading to associate of arts or science and baccalaureate degrees; continuing education programs for occupational skills upgrading or personal enrichment; and a continuing program of counseling and guidance designed to assist students in achieving their individual educational goals.
Established in 1970 in Wilbarger County with its campus in Vernon, Texas, Vernon College expanded its services to include three major campuses in Wichita Falls: Century City Center, 4105 Maplewood; Skills Training Center, 2813 Central Expressway East; and Sheppard Learning Center at Sheppard AFB. The college also offers an extensive selection of courses over the Internet. The College has a combined enrollment of over 2900 with over half of those enrollments being in Wichita Falls. Each campus offers academic courses with technical/occupational skills training programs being offered at various campuses. At the Century City campus, the major programs are nursing (LVN and RN) along with allied health programs in surgical technology, health information, nurse aide, pharmacy technician, phlebotomy, and EMS; protective services including fire and police academies and criminal justice; Associate of Arts in Teaching; office technology, child development; and cosmetology. The Skills Training Center (STC) programs focus on industrial and technical occupational skills training such as aircraft mechanics for FAA A&P licensure; electronics/electricity/robotics; HVAC; automotive mechanics; computer and information sciences including networking, computer security and software applications; manual and CNC machining; SMAW, MIG and TIG welding; professional truck driving; motorcycle safety; and defensive driving. The STC also works with area business and industries to provide customized training.
High school students may take Vernon College courses through the dual credit/concurrent enrollment Early College Start program. Students may take both academic courses as well as technical courses. At the Skills Training Center, high school students can attend technical courses in the afternoons during their junior and senior years and graduate from Vernon College with a certificate of completion at the same time they graduate with their high school diploma.
Vernon College is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Associate of Colleges and Schools and approved by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. Financial aid, scholarships, and special services/ADA accommodations are available to individuals who qualify. For additional information about Vernon College, please visit the college’s website at http://www.vernoncollege.edu/ or call 940-696-8752.
Wayland Baptist University
Wayland Baptist University (WBU) offers an Associates Degree in Applied Science, Bachelor of Science Degree in Occupational Education and a Bachelor in Christian Ministry. WBU takes into consideration students’ work experience, military service, industry training programs and other non-traditional experiences. They also offer Masters Degrees in Business Administration, Education and Management with class times to accommodate working professionals. Wayland Baptist University’s Wichita Falls campuses are located at Sheppard Air Force Base and on Callfield Rd. in Wichita Falls and are open to both military and civilian students.
Due to Wichita Falls geographic location, the community has emerged as a regional hub for health care services. Since the early 1990s health care services in Wichita Falls have expanded at a pace that exceeds all other industry sectors. With over 1,800 employees including 298 physicians and staff and an economic impact in the community of over $176 million, United Regional is the anchor of Wichita Falls’ regional health care system offering state-of-the-art technologies and facilities, a broad spectrum of health care services normally associated with larger metropolitan cities and a level of quality care unmatched in the region.
United Regional services include Lead Level III Trauma Center, Cancer Treatment Center, technologically advanced cardiac and surgical services, dedicated pediatric and Level II nursery which is funded by the Children’s Miracle Network fundraising efforts and a wide array of ancillary services including PET/CT.
In addition to United Regional, numerous other medical facilities sustain the medical demands of the trade area, as well as to provide support services to United Regional. Kell West Regional Hospital, the Clinics of North Texas, the Wichita Falls Endoscopy Center, and Texoma Cancer Center offer world-class medical services and help make Wichita Falls the regional medical services hub that it is.
For a list of Chamber member healthcare facilities and providers, check listings in the Membership Directory. Check the following listings, among others: Dentists, Medical Clinics/Facilities, Hospitals, Physicians, etc. as well as specialty areas, like physical therapy and rehabilitative services. If you need additional help, contact the Chamber office.
Wichita Falls Crime Data
Wichita Falls is the home of the 150,000 square foot MPEC (multi-purpose event center), which includes Ray Clymer Exhibit Hall, and the 50,000 square foot J.S. Bridwell Agricultural Center. In addition to those facilities, the Kay Yeager Coliseum opened its doors in early 2003. The Kay Yeager Coliseum, a 10,000 seat venue, is the home of the Wichita Falls Wildcats hockey team. The Wildcats hockey team is a member of the North American Hockey League. For more information on the Wichita Falls Wildcats visit their web site at www.wfwildcatshockey.com or call them at 940-716-5587. Beyond high octane hockey, the Kay Yeager Coliseum is the venue for numerous other events and concerts. For upcoming events and ticket information, call 940-716-5555.
The following is a partial list of the top annual events held in Wichita Falls.
Wichita Falls has a large number of sports centers, youth centers, YMCAs, 40 city parks and more. For the golf enthusiast, there is one private and six public 18-hole courses ranging from 6,163 up to 7,028 yards with ratings of 67.3 up to a challenging 73.9. Two public tennis centers complete with pro-shops offer programs for the beginner to advanced player. The Plex family entertainment center offers miniature golf, go-carts, batting cage, laser tag and exciting water games. Castaway Cover Water Park, has six exciting water elements, concerts, sand volleyball, shaded pavilions and more. For more information about Castaway Cove visit http://www.castawaycovewaterpark.com/.
A list of youth centers include several Boys & Girls Clubs, Girl Scouts, Camp Fire, 4-H clubs, Boy Scout programs, church camps, and student centers. The YMCA has three facilities in town and there are 13 other health, fitness, and dance centers. Several jogging, walking, and bike trails, an indoor rock climbing gym and disc golf courses round out the recreational picture. Wichita Falls the is proud home of River Bend Nature Center where the most popular attractions are the Ruby N. Priddy Butterfly Conservatory, as well as the nature trail with paved pathway and shaded scenery, and the pavilion and terrace where you can enjoy a picnic lunch or fun in the sun! For more information contact (940) 767-0843 or visit www.riverbendnaturecenter.org. In addition, the new multi-picture Cinemark Theater is one of three movie theaters in town. For the racing fans, Red River Speedway and dirt track racing at Texoma Motor Speedway offer an entertainment venue for the local spectator.
The list of cultural opportunities in Wichita Falls includes a professional symphony orchestra and ballet troupe, two community theater groups, two theaters for the performing arts, an opera house with live performances, and museums. These venues are sprinkled throughout the city and provide a year-round selection of concerts, plays, and family entertainment.
The students at Midwestern State University present a wide variety of events showcasing their talents and visual artistry. Continuing education classes offered by MSU and the Parks and Recreation Department allow adults to experiment with their talents in painting, writing, dance, martial arts, photography, sculpture, and various crafts. The Wichita Falls Public Library houses over 126,000 books, tapes, and CDs and is located in downtown Wichita Falls.
The Kemp Center for the Arts is the headquarters for the area arts community. Built in 1917, the Kemp Center is a popular location for weddings, cultural performances and other gatherings, and has a complete catering kitchen, a serving pantry, and a photography darkroom. Downstairs, a gift shop offers works from local artists, while children and adults enjoy a wide variety of art classes year-round in two spacious classrooms. The NorthLight Gallery, the West End Studio, and What’s Up Downstairs, present ever-changing visual art exhibits promoting local and regional art. The Great Hall is the setting for film, musical dance and theater performances. On the elegantly landscaped grounds, a Sculpture Garden, pond, and gazebo bring the arts outdoors. The Arts Council and the Wichita Falls Symphony Orchestra house their offices in the Kemp Center. The Kemp Center for the Arts is a 501 ( c ) 3 non-profit organization supported by memberships, fundraising events, grants and contributions.
Wichita Falls is a Metropolitan Core-Based Statistical Area (CBSA) as designated by the United States Census Bureau. Wichita Falls is also the hub of the regional economic trade area. Over the past three decades, Wichita Falls has successfully diversified its economy to include new manufacturing, government, medical services, retail, and service related commerce. This diversification is in addition to the more typical north Texas industries of agriculture and oil and gas production. This diversification has allowed for an enhanced quality of life with many more services than are generally found in communities of its size and in similar geographic regions. A primary goal of the Wichita Falls Chamber of Commerce and Industry is the continued diversification of the economy to protect against the negative economic impacts that an economic downturn can have especially in a specific industry sector (i.e. technology).
For purpose of labor supply, Wichita Falls is located just outside the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex region with an immediate labor shed (based upon a maximum 40 minute commute) of approximately 375,000 people ages 16 and older. Of that labor shed, over 157,000 (84.9%) are currently employed, of which 20,834 (6.7%) are employed in the armed forces. However, there are 9,478 unemployed persons in the available labor shed, which is 3.5% of the available workforce. On average there are over 5,000 people registered with the Wichita Falls Texas Workforce Commission looking for or looking to upgrade their employment. While some areas have seen a dramatic reduction in available workforce, the Wichita Falls CBSA has remained steady relative to labor force and employment. (Source: Demographics Now, January 2008)
Cost of Living
Data not available at this time. Sorry for the inconvenience.
Property Tax Rates - 2007
Source: Wichita County Appraisal District, June 2008.
Municipal Sales Tax 1.000%
State Sales Tax Rate 6.250%
Economic Development Tax 0.500%
4(a)/4(b) Sales Tax 0.500% (0.250% each)
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