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New College plans reviewed

EAST ALDINE – The East Aldine Advisory Group met with representatives of Lone Star College last Wednesday afternoon, to hear Chancellor Dr. Stephen Head bring them up to date on planning for the new campus to be built on Aldine Mail Route.

Plans are proceeding, he explained, because the college will use a new financing method known as NMTC, or New Market Tax Credits, in lieu of a general obligation bond which was not approved in the election of 2013. But due to the pressing need for the Aldine community, Lone Star will meet the need by having a private developer build the building and the college will lease it back for academic use.

Lone Star will utilize 13.75 acres of the 61 acre site that the East Aldine District is developing. EAMD will donate the land, valued at $1.2 million and pay for service roads, utilities, and flood retention features on the site to an additional value of $1 million.

Lone Star College is planning on a building of 65,000 square feet, with 650 parking spaces. The facility is envisioned to be a center for workforce and academic preparation, economic and community development, and a focal point for training for area residents. The center will be designed to accommodate a student enrollment of 3000 students. It is expected to employ 100 full time staff, faculty, and administrators. In addition, about 100 part-time employees will be needed, according to Melissa Gonzalez, special assistant to the president and in charge of the new building.

The center is expected to open for classes in the Fall of 2016, according to Dr. Head.

The facility will have two major components:

Approximately one half of the facility will be designed to house “state of the art” training labs and dedicated classrooms for workforce programs. These workforce programs will be for both credit and non-credit course offerings. The workforce programs under consideration include high demand and high paying fields in the oil and gas industry and construction.

These may include the following: Machining Technology, Welding, Pipe-Fitting, Petroleum Technology, Electrician and Heating, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration (HVAC). Additional programs that may be offered in this center are Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) and Phlebotomist, and Medical Coding. The specific programs will be determined by advisory groups composed of community and business leaders and based on data such as job openings, future trends, educational attainment and liveable wages and salaries.

The remainer of the faility will be designated for academic support functions, including traditional offices such as admissions, advising and counseling, financial aid, and testing as well as administrative support. The instructional componenets of this facility will be designed for academic courses included in the first two years of a bachelor’s degree, and/or the completion of an associate’s degree. In addition to academic classrooms, instructional space will also be provided for science and computer labs. Furthermore, there will be designated classrooms for GED, ABE and ESL instruction.