More than five years after voters approved Lone Star College System’s $485 million bond package in November 2014, bond projects are still ongoing—some of them several years behind schedule.
Vice Chancellor of Strategic Priorities Kyle Scott said in March $185 million in bonds remained to be issued. Scott said construction at LSC-Kingwood and across LSCS were delayed by Hurricane Harvey, even if campuses were not flooded.
Scott said there are currently no changes to planned projects as a result of coronavirus-related closures in the spring.
“[Harvey] delayed the overall process, because then [resources] were being redirected to Harvey reconstruction efforts,” Scott said.
For example, LSC-Kingwood broke ground March 2 on the health professions center that was originally scheduled to open in 2018, but it is now set to open in fall 2021. The center will house simulation labs and medical spaces for dental assistants, nursing, occupational therapy assistants and respiratory care.
LSC-Kingwood President Katherine Persson said Harvey flooded 80% of the campus’s buildings in 2017, but the campus was able use some bond funds earmarked for renovations to existing facilities to help rebuild the campus after the storm.
While Kingwood’s enrollment numbers are not where LSCS assumed the school would be in 2014, Persson said the campus’s course hours are staying steady.
Prior to 2014, LSCS estimated LSC-Kingwood would have more than 13,000 students enrolled by 2020, Persson said. In fall 2019, the campus has roughly 12,200, and this semester the campus has about 11,000, she said.
“We know, nationally, enrollment in higher ed is down the last couple of years from a strong economy, strong workforce,” she said. “But we also know we’re continuing to grow, so it averages out as a positive growth slope if you look at it year after year.”