By BOBBY HORN JR.
Citing a need for new instructional facilities and infrastructure upgrades, the Lone Star College System will ask its patrons to approve $420 million in bonds.
The election will be held May 10.
The lions share of the bond package will be $262.4 million for instructional facilities. Another $44.2 million has been set aside for student service facilities. Among these are performing arts facilities and a second University Center.
According to demographers the college system will grow to 80,000 students by 2015.
College officials said that one area of interest is health sciences. The field, they say, suffers from a lack of trained healthcare and emergency services workers.
Industry watchers say that it is more common for those entering these field to study at a community college than a university. To meet this need Lone Star College will, if voters so authorize, build a new health professions building at North Harris College and a science and health building on the Montgomery campus.
During formation of the bond referendum, input from the community suggested that the college system set traffic and safety as a priority issue. The proposed package has $38.3 million going to these areas.
The system also plans to add $25.9 million in technology infrastructure.
Trustees said that they originally planned to ask for $461.7 million. However by cutting out $41.7 million they can avoid a tax rate increase.
This is the college systems second attempt in the last two years to gain approval for bonds. In 2006 voters turned down a $200 million package forcing the college to assess their needs and the communitys desires.
The May 10 election will also feature four positions on the systems board of trustees. Fourteen candidates have filed for a spot on the ballot. Early voting is from April 28 to May 6.
Lone Star College System sets $420M Bond vote in May
By BOBBY HORN JR.