Lone Star College System makes its Katy debut with its newest satellite center to open in the fall. A second branch of LSC-CyFair, the center will open Aug. 26 at the intersection of Fry and Clay roads.

College administrators first determined the need for a second satellite center about five years ago when the second LSCS bond passed in 2008.

"It was in response to student growth," LSC–CyFair president Audre Levy said. "As we've done with other areas, we looked at where the student population is and where there is a need for the community."

The new Cypress Center will accommodate about 3,200 students, similar to the number at the existing satellite—the Fairbanks Center—near Hwy. 290 and Beltway 8.

About 15,000 square feet of the Cypress Center's 85,000 square feet will be dedicated to workforce programs, such as welding, machining, geographic informational systems, drafting and engineering technology. In many cases, the demand has exceeded the space those classes were allocated on the main campus, Levy said.

"When the campus was designed, we were looking at a population of 9,000, and we've doubled that," she said. "We're trying to be responsive to the community and provide workforce training, and those programs require larger labs."

The emphasis on space for workforce programs played a part in deciding where to locate the satellite center, said Deana Sheppard, LSC–CyFair associate vice president for college centers.

"We thought, if we're going to expand those programs, where should we [locate] this center? So where we bought property seemed like a natural place since it's so close to the Energy Corridor," she said.

The Cypress Center is a full-service campus, meaning students can take academic classes aside from the workforce classes.

It includes a 13,500 square-foot workforce lab area, 14 classrooms, eight computer labs, two training rooms, one biology lab, one craft lab and a student services area to accommodate for tutoring, testing, registration and a bookstore. It also houses administrative, staff and faculty offices.

"It's a center that anyone can take a couple classes at if they're transferring to a four-year university or a place where someone can pick up some skills for their job," Sheppard said.