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LSCS plans expanded security features with bond referendum funds

HOUSTON (April 23, 2013) – Upgraded security and enhanced campus safety features at Lone Star College System are projects included in the upcoming $497.7 million bond referendum.

Voters will be asked to consider these upgrades on election day, May 11, as part of the overall construction package proposed through the LSCS bond referendum.

“The safety of our students, faculty and staff has always been a top priority and these proposed projects are not new – they were outlined well in advance of the recent incident at LSC-CyFair,” said Dr. Richard Carpenter, LSCS chancellor. “While attention to the details is at an all-time high, the bond referendum underscores the multitude of needs associated with our unprecedented student enrollment growth.”

Assuming the bond package is approved, system-wide projects and initiatives call for campus safety & security improvements at all Lone Star College System locations including:

  • More video surveillance capabilities installed inside campus buildings and exterior locations;
  • Enhanced lighting, emergency call boxes and sirens;
  • Enhancements to public address systems;
  • Automated door locking system with implementation of new electronic badge access;
  • Expanded alert system to fully integrate automated, simultaneous deployment of emergency announcements and personal messaging.

 “The security systems we have in place work as intended,” said Dr. Carpenter. “However, when you add more than 30,000 students in a short period of time – and projections call for even more growth – it follows that improvements are warranted to keep up.”

While LSCS only builds to meet capacity needs, the LSCS service area is expected to grow at a rate of 10 percent over the next five years, based on U.S. Census data and demographic projections by ESRI, an independent company specializing in demographic analyses.  More specifically, the key college-age 20-34 year-old age group is projected to increase by 8.1 percent by 2017 which translates into more students attending Lone Star Colleges.

Projections indicate that LSCS will exceed current capacity of 4 million square feet of instructional and support space by the end of 2013 and will have stressed space demands until 2018 as new construction from the bonds would be completed.

Dr. Carpenter explained that a 2007 demographic study projected that student enrollment at LSCS would reach 60,000 credit students by 2015. By fall of 2012, LSCS already enrolled 77,877 credit students, 58 percent more than the fall of 2007 and well above the original projection.  The 77,877 credit student total does not include non-credit workforce career & technical education (CTE) and continuing education students, which push the current total enrollment to more than 90,000.

A 2012 demographic study indicates that the LSCS enrollment will reach 100,000-plus students by 2018, a projection that counts only credit students and does not include non-credit workforce CTE and continuing education students who also use LSCS facilities. This projection is based on rapidly increasing service area population growth in conjunction with student enrollment ZIP code analysis.  These student enrollment projections were prepared by Facility Programming and Consulting, a Texas based architectural programming and master planning firm with extensive experience in the higher education segment in Texas and throughout the United States.

Enrollment numbers and projections can differ dramatically from agency to agency and based upon the measurement purpose and methodology used, said Dr. Carpenter, including projections done by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.

“To make an accurate assessment of campus facility use, LSCS enrollment projections include all credit students and non-credit students who take classes on site,” said Dr. Carpenter.

He explained that THECB enrollment projections do not include non-credit workforce CTE students who attend classes on campus and are an increasingly important component of Lone Star College System’s support to the community, as employers seek to hire candidates with the necessary skills to succeed.  The THECB forecast also do not include late-start students or students in continuing education classes.

“We‘ve never had a system-wide decrease in year-to-year student enrollment in the 40-year history of this college system,” said Dr. Carpenter.

Other highlights of the proposed bond construction include new workforce training facilities, along with three new centersin the East Aldine, Creekside and Magnoliaareas to better serve these growing communities.

Details concerning the May 11 bond referendum can be found at LoneStar.edu/Bond2013.

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. To learn more visit LoneStar.edu.