Levelland EDC Board President Elgin Conner is shown presenting the 2017 Community and Economic Development Award to SPC President, Dr. Robin Satterwhite. SPC is a boost to the regional economy, noting that the college educates over 9,500 students in a 15 county service area.
South Plains College has their main campus in Levelland with educational programs in two locations in Lubbock, the SPC Lubbock Center and the SPC Reese Center as well as an extension center in Plainview. The educational program includes academic transfer courses which parallel university programs for students who plan to earn a bachelor’s degree. They also maintain a diverse offering of one and two year technical programs for students who want to develop specific job skills and then enter the world of work.
Executive Director John Clary reported on the yearly activity for the LEDC in 2017. He noted first and foremost, that monthly sales tax receipts have been up year over year for eight consecutive months now, sales tax receipts over the last 6 months equal the next highest six months of sale3s tax receipts ever, which were collected in the Fall of 2014. Rail park traffic is increasing as well with Titan Transloading averaging over 430 rail cars over the last six months, which has not been seen since the Fall of 2014. Hockley County’s labor force continues to be steady. The Hockley County unemployment rate only went up to 5% during the slow down in the oil market but is now hovering around 4% and was 3.6% in September. Anything under 5% is considered near 100% employment. Clary said, “Our shining star continues to be South Plains College, our largest single employer, and they are celebrating the college’s 60th anniversary this year. Their registration this Fall was even with last year, however, their was an increase in contact hours.
Economic Developments in the past year, include, Penny Newman Grain completing construction of facilities and infrastructure for their cotton seed trans-loading operation. It is important to note that their large A-Frame storage structure was heavily damaged in the July 4, 2017 wind storm, Penny Newman Grain is committed to Levelland and will totally re-build the structure next spring. The EDC has also completed the sale of the former knitting mill building on Industrial Drive to a developer based in Lubbock, who has leased the building to Portales Select Peanuts which operates the Peanut facility in Levelland. Portales Select Peanuts has constructed a new 36,000 square foot, $2 million warehouse on their current land in the Industrial park and a recent expansion has taken place at the Levelland Ethanol plant. The plant has recently expanded and built a plant to process dry distillers grain to be used as cattle feed and for the past year has sold the product to feed lots and dairy farms around the state.