The Board of Regents at South Plains College approved a Memorandum of Understanding between the college, the City of Lubbock, and Lubbock Economic Development Alliance to explore the possibility of using Lubbock City Hall as a future campus during their April meeting.
“The Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) is for the consideration of conveyance and remodeling of the building that is currently being used for the Lubbock City Hall,” explained Dr. Robin Satterwhite, president of SPC.
The proposal includes the City Hall building, located at 1625 13th Street in Lubbock, and a smaller building on the corner lot. The City Hall building is 101,000 square feet, and in its current configuration, 83,000 square feet of it is usable.
“The purpose of this MOU is to create a 12-month time period for all of the different entities to investigate the cost of what this might be and the extent of renovation that needs to occur,” explained Dr. Satterwhite. “And then for the potential for what type of financial support we can gain for the remodeling of this building.”
The MOU includes a commitment from the Lubbock Economic Development Alliance (LEDA) for $5 million for the acquisition and renovation of the building. It also includes a commitment from the LEDA of $500,000 per year for funding for administrative, educational and infrastructure costs that are proposed with the Downtown Center.
“What we recognized is that the facilities at Reese, specifically buildings 4 and 5, are in a position where they’re going to need some future significant repairs,” reported Dr. Satterwhite, “and they are located on a location of the Reese campus that is also identified as needing significant future repairs. The college is going to have to make the strategic decision in investing our funds, our reserves, towards those renovations or identifying an alternative to that. And this MOU is also related to that alternative.”
If the Downtown Center came to fruition, programs that are currently located in buildings 4 and 5 at Reese Center, which are largely health occupation programs, would be shifted to the buildings that are in better condition on the other side of the campus, near the state-of-the-art Simulation Center in Building 1. Dr. Satterwhite explained that the goal would be to move the health occupations programs into those buildings and relocate the Arts and Sciences classes to the Downtown Center.
“We believe that this building will better service our students,” Dr. Satterwhite said of Lubbock City Hall. “It is closely located to Texas Tech University; it’s seven blocks away. It will probably support the co-enrollment students much more effectively than what we currently have.
“We’re expecting our co-enrollment students to grow,” he added. “That’s what our hope is, because of our increased relationship with Texas Tech University, and our Memorandum of Understanding with Texas Tech.”
Dr. Satterwhite told the Regents that there are distinct needs that are going to have to be addressed sooner or later on the Reese Center campus, and the MOU provides another option to look at.
Stephen John, vice president for institutional advancement, presented resolutions on behalf of the Board of Regents, commending Erik Vance, head track coach at SPC, Justin Hobbs, assistant coach, and the 2017-2018 Texan and Lady Texan Track and Field teams for their 2018 NJCAA Division I Men’s Indoor National Championship.
A resolution also was presented commending Steve Green, head men’s basketball coach at SPC, Assistant Coach Justin Brown and the 2017-2018 Texan Basketball team for their NJCAA National Championship, the third for the program in the 60-year history of SPC athletics.
In addition, a resolution was approved commending SPC alum Rear Admiral Ronny L. Jackson for distinguishing himself within his chosen profession.
Also discussed during the meeting held April 12 was an Analysis of the Economic Impact and Return on Investment of Education. Emsi, a leading provider of economic impact studies, collected information for fiscal year of 2015 to 2016.
John explained to the Regents what the report yielded, such as SPC produces significant returns for the area’s economy, students, business and taxpayers. According to the study, SPC and its students stimulate the local economy by $399.2 million in added annual income, which is roughly 2.6 percent of the South Plains region’s total gross regional product.
It also states that students who leave SPC with an associate degree increase their lifetime earning potential by $387,000 more than a student with just a high school diploma or GED. SPC provides a benefit-to-cost ratio of 5.2, John said, meaning for every dollar invested in an SPC education, the student will receive a cumulative of $5.20 in higher future earnings during the next 30 years.
“We wanted to learn how much SPC contributes to the area’s economy after 60 years of providing higher education opportunities,” said John.
As an important employer in the region, the college’s payroll and day-to-day operations add $49.7 million in income to the region, equivalent of supporting 922 jobs. The spending impact of students who live outside the region and relocated to attend SPC is estimated to be $36.7 million in added income annually, the equivalent of supporting 604 jobs.
Every dollar invested in the college by state and local taxpayers produces a real-money annual return of 13 percent in the form of higher tax revenues and avoided social costs attributable to education, according to the report.
The full report has also been published on SPC’s website.