By mid-2021, Houston Community College will have a new campus for its west Houston students.
The proposal to purchase 24 acres with an option to acquire an additional 30 acres to relocate and expand the Northwest College Katy campus at 228 Colonial Parkway, near the intersection of I-10 and Grand Parkway passed in a 5-2 vote, with two trustees abstaining, at the Dec. 5 board of trustees meeting.
“I see it as a vote of confidence in our growth plan,” HCC Northwest President Zachary Hodges said. “Now to get the community on board.”
HCC plans to build a 140,000-square-foot building to allow capacity to grow from 4,000 students to 7,000 students, according to documents presented to the board. In particular the campus will offer the freshman- and sophomore-level classes to supplement the junior-, senior- and graduate-level classes that will be offered by the UH system at its own Katy campus also at the intersection of I-10 and Grand Parkway.
The two campuses are not contiguous, but there will be a road directly between the HCC and UH campus with a shuttle to transport students.
The $55 million project will be funded through a short-term finance loan from Regions Bank, which was also approved at the board meeting. Long-term revenue bonds, the sale of three HCC properties including the current Katy campus at 1550 Foxlake Drive, Houston, and student tuition and fees will also help pay for the campus.
A timeline presented to the board states construction on the new campus will begin in December 2019 and open to students by June 2021. The design of the new building will take inspiration from HCC's West Houston Institute at 2811 Hayes Road, Houston, Hodges said.
A larger campus will allow HCC to grow with the booming population in west Houston, Hodges said. The expansion will also allow the college to offer more programs and courses, such as an engineering academy and a police academy, HCC officials said.
The Katy area is within HCC’s service area, but it has not voted to become part of its taxing district, which levies a $0.100263 tax per $100 property valuation. Because Katy is not within the taxing district, HCC charges higher tuition fees to Katy-area students. Additionally HCC will charge students at the new campus a building-usage fee of $5 per credit hour to help pay for the construction.
Thanks to the higher tuition and fees multiplied by additional students, HCC expects to increase revenue by $168 million over the term of the outstanding debt related to the project, 27 years, with a net cash inflow of nearly $29 million, per board documents.