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LSCS hosts welcome event at HP north campus

Lone Star College System officials welcomed guests and local dignitaries to an unveiling event at the HP north campus on May 7 as part of its purchase made last week.

The event, which included a welcome address by Dr. Richard Carpenter, LSCS chancellor, was attended by about 200 guests and employees. Guests were treated to a tour of the facility by LSCS employees.

In addition to Dr. Carpenter, other speakers at the unveiling ceremony included Randy Bates, chairman, LSCS Board of Trustees; Jerry Eversole, Harris County Commissioner, Precinct 4 ; Court Koenning, chief of staff, Texas Sen. Dan Patrick; Ted Clark, senior vice president, HP; Welcome Wilson, chair, University of Houston System Board of Regents ; Dr. Max Castillo, president, University of Houston Downtown; Dr. John Rudley, president, Texas Southern University; Norma Kent, vice president of communications, American Association of Community Colleges; and Dr. B. Glenn Wilkerson, senior minister, Cypress Creek Christian Church.

"I am 66 years old," said Eversole. "And in my 66 years, I don't think I have ever witnessed an event more important than this event."

On May 7 LSCS announced this purchase of the core of the Hewlett Packard north campus on State Highway 249 at Louetta Road - 45 acres for a purchase price of $42.15 million.

The purchase gives LSCS 1.2 million square feet of additional space in eight major buildings, as well as parking garages and other support infrastructure, making this one of the largest such real estate acquisitions in higher education history. The campus was once home to the Compaq Headquarters.

According to Chancellor Carpenter, the facility will serve multiple purposes, including a new University Center for north Harris County, an instructional satellite campus, a Corporate College conference and training facility, and System administration and support space.

"In 2007, community leaders from the area approached Lone Star College System requesting that a new university be established in the northwest Harris County area," Carpenter said.

Funds for the new university center were added to the LSCS bond referendum sent to voters in May 2008 and with the help of those community leaders and the support of voters, the measure passed and the college system immediately began searching for a suitable location, Carpenter said.

"This purchase will help us fulfill our promise to the community," Carpenter said.

LSCS' current University Center in The Woodlands partners with six major Texas universities and has enrolled more than 54,000 students since its opening in 1998. Students are able to take the first two years of college courses at a Lone Star College, then complete a bachelor's or master's degree from a partnering university.

In all, LSCS enrolled more than 52,000 students in credit courses on five colleges and six satellite campuses last fall, and another 14,000 students in non-credit courses.

The new facility provides the fast growing system, the third largest community college in Texas and the largest higher education institution in the greater Houston area, with room for new program development and expansion, adding to the numerous new facilities underway at all of the System colleges.

Initial plans call for the system to begin construction in the fall and to begin offering instructional classes at the new site by spring 2010.

Lone Star College System consists of five colleges, including LSC-CyFair, LSC-Kingwood, LSC-Montgomery, LSC-North Harris, and LSC-Tomball, six centers and Lone Star College-University Center. With more than 50,000 students in credit classes this spring, LSCS is the largest institution of higher education in the Houston area and third largest community college system in Texas. To learn more, visit LoneStar.edu.