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LSCS announces plans for new LSC-CyFair satellite center

(March 10, 2010) – Lone Star College System officials have announced plans for a new LSC-CyFair satellite center on Clay Road near Fry Road to better accommodate students who live in the southern part of the system’s service area.

Plans for the satellite center solidified once the real estate purchase of the 11-plus acre site closed in December. This will be the second satellite center for LSC-CyFair – the first satellite location is the LSC-Fairbanks Center at West Little York and State Highway 290.

Plans call for LSCS to build an 84,000 square-foot, two-story building that will house a full range of general academic courses as well as a wide range of workforce programs. Officials anticipate enrolling up to 3,000 students at the new center, which is expected to open in April 2011. Funds for the $18 million project were included in the May 2008  bond election.

“This center has been planned to provide enrollment relief for the main LSC-CyFair campus and to better serve existing students as well as the growing population in that area,” said Ray Laughter, LSCS vice chancellor of external affairs.

According to LSCS data, more than 5,400 students who live in the ZIP codes immediately surrounding that location currently attend a Lone Star College. That southern area of the college system – a five ZIP-code area including ZIPs 77084, 77449, 77450, 77493 and 77494 – was selected by LSCS as the most favorable location for a new satellite center.

“We already have a large student base in this area,” said Laughter. “We studied 10 or more other geographic locations and this was absolutely the best location to build a satellite center – to provide the best value and usability for current and future students, not to mention the best land value that we could find.”

Laughter indicated that the purchase of the 11.887-acre property – which was acquired for $2.3 million – was also planned as part of the May 2008 bond election.

While the last LSCS campus, LSC-CyFair, was built in 2000, LSCS has a history of building satellite centers for a number of reasons, Laughter said. First, the goal is to have a satellite center within easy commute for the population and student base. Also, centers are more cost-effective to construct and operate than building a comprehensive college. In addition, all of the Lone Star Colleges are at or above capacity, especially the LSC-CyFair campus with 13,000 students on site and more than 16,000 total, including its centers.

LSC-CyFair, as well as other LSCS campuses, serves as the college of choice for a large number of high school graduates from Cy-Fair and Katy school districts.

“Nearly 30 percent of the May 2009 high school graduates from Cy-Fair ISD attended a Lone Star College,” Laughter said. “We also have more than 10 percent of graduates of Katy ISD currently attending our colleges right out of high school.”

LSCS data further indicates that more students from Katy ISD high schools attend Lone Star College than go to any other college or university. This was according to a 2008 report from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, the latest available. For example, Mayde Creek High School saw 18 percent of the entire graduating class of 2008 attending Lone Star College after graduating. Morton Ranch High School also had 18 percent of its 2008 graduates attend LSCS in their first year of college, while Katy High School had 11 percent of its 2008 graduates attend a Lone Star College.

‘We selected a location for the new center based on our previous best practices which include: locating a center where we have the greatest student population and greatest anticipated growth; we wanted the new center far enough away from our existing colleges and centers; and we were determined to get the best value available for our taxpayers,” said Laughter.

With more than 62,000 students in credit classes in spring 2010, Lone Star College System is the second largest and the fastest-growing community college system in Texas and the largest institution of higher education in the Houston area. LSCS consists of five colleges including LSC-CyFair, LSC-Kingwood, LSC-Montgomery, LSC-North Harris, and LSC-Tomball, six centers, LSC-University Park, LSC-University Center @ Montgomery, LSC-University Center @ University Park, Lone Star Corporate College, and LSC-Online. To learn more visit LoneStar.edu.