LSCS Chief Financial Officer Jennifer Mott-Olenick provided the board with an update on Hurricane Harvey's financial impact. Mott-Olenick said as of Oct. 20, LSCS has filed for $34 million of public assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency. She also said FEMA began visiting LSCS campuses damaged by Harvey in January and will finish in February.
Although Harvey caused significant damage to LSCS facilities, it has not severely affected LSCS enrollment, officials said. LSCS Chancellor Steve Head said the number of students taking classes at LSCS campuses has remained about the same after Harvey. However, the number of credit hours students are taking—which is what state funding is based on—has decreased 3 percent, he said.
After listening to reports and presentations, the board approved several agenda items that will be funded through its Harvey recovery fund. This fund will be reimbursed from insurance proceeds, FEMA, bond funds and cash reserves.
The board also authorized Head or his designee to lease and install mobile classroom trailers at the flood-damaged LSC-Kingwood campus, which is set to reopen in 2019. This will accommodate academic programs previously housed in campus buildings that were affected by Harvey. This project is estimated to cost $226,000.
In other business, the board voted to ratify a contract to cover additional construction costs for a new building at LSC-University Park. The LSC-UP Center for Science and Innovation, which opened for classes in January, was set to open at the beginning of the 2017 fall semester, but was delayed after sustaining flood damage during Hurricane Harvey. The construction costs approved by the board include flood mitigation and restoration work, totaling $1.1 million.
The board also authorized Head or a designee with the ability to negotiate a contract to replace the roof of the LSC-North Harris Winship Building. This project will cost $1.2 million and will be funded through the $485 million bond package approved by voters in 2014.
Although most items on the agenda received board approval, the board rejected several items which would have changed the process for employees who wish to appeal a change in their contract status and the employee grievance process. Some board members said they were concerned these measures would reduce the flow of information to the board, limiting its oversight.
The next board of trustees meeting will take place on March 1 at 5 p.m. at the Training and Development Center Board Room, 5000 Research Forest Drive, The Woodlands.