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Lone Star College System Board hears from community about growth needs

HOUSTON (Feb. 8, 2013) – A committee of community leaders has recommended to the Lone Star College System Board of Trustees that the system consider building new learning facilities and infrastructure sufficient to accommodate the system’s historical growth.

Barbara Thomason, president of the Houston Northwest Chamber of Commerce, spoke on behalf of the committee members who represent area business, education, government and civic sectors to the LSCS Board of Trustees at the board’s regular meeting on Feb. 7.

Over the past two months, these committee members have been studying the college system’s current enrollment trends and facilities use, along with related population growth and demographics in the region, as well as the continued pressing need for a trained workforce.

A list of projects, totaling about $516 million, was prioritized by the committee and Thomason outlined for the board the needs for each college.

“We offer these recommendations in the best interest of Lone Star College System and the communities it serves,” Thomason said.

She explained that the committee recognized the need to make plans to stay ahead of the drastic growth seen by the college, along with maintaining the tax rate, which is the same as it was 15 years ago.

“Our committee was in agreement that any bond program the college undertakes should not impact the tax rate,” she said, which is a commitment shared by LSCS as well as members of the LSCS Board of Trustees.

Dr. Richard Carpenter, LSCS chancellor, praised the group and thanked the members for their dedication and hard work.

“This group of community leaders has reviewed the trends and realize that Lone Star College System must keep up with the population growth to continue serving the community as well as the businesses in the area who need skilled workers,” said Dr. Carpenter.

Dr. Carpenter said that board members will now consider if they will ask the public to approve a bond referendum to finance the projects recommended by the committee.

Since the last bond referendum was approved by voters in May of 2008, LSCS has added more than 30,000 students to its rolls – from 47,465 in spring 2008 to 77,877 credit students in fall 2012, an increase of 64 percent.

“The enrollment growth at Lone Star College System is unprecedented,” said Dr. Carpenter. “Our colleges are at or beyond capacity, even with the facilities that were brought online as a result of the 2008 bond referendum.

“These projects being recommended by the committee represent facilities needs in two to three years, when we’re projecting our enrollment will surpass 100,000 students,” said Dr. Carpenter.

The committee, convened at the request of the chancellor and members of the LSCS Board of Trustees, met several times since November to prepare its recommendations. Separate subgroups of the committee represented each college area.

Lone Star College System has been opening doors to a better community for 40 years. Founded in 1973, LSCS remains steadfast in its commitment to student success and credential completion. Today, with 78,000 students in credit classes, and a total enrollment of more than 90,000, Lone Star College System is the largest institution of higher education in the Houston area and the fastest-growing community college system in the nation. Dr. Richard Carpenter is the chancellor of LSCS, which consists of six colleges including LSC-CyFair, LSC-Kingwood, LSC-Montgomery, LSC-North Harris, LSC-Tomball and LSC-University Park, five centers, LSC-University Center at Montgomery, LSC-University Center at University Park, Lone Star Corporate College, and LSC-Online. To learn more visit LoneStar.edu.