SPC Board of Regents held a regular meeting on Thursday afternoon.
Regents received a report from the Vice President for Academic Affairs, it was reported that SPC has entered into an agreement for Lubbock Coding Academy to teach SPC students. The first class will begin February 4th on the SPC Lubbock Center. The classes meet twice a week for eight weeks. Multiple entities were involved to get this started including City of Lubbock, Lubbock Economic Development Alliance and Texas Tech University. SPC will also begin the Truck Driving school on January 28th. The first class is already full. American Truck Driving School out of Waco will be teaching the school. The school will start a new class every four weeks and will be taught on the Reese Campus. The college is also working to become a testing site through DPS as well. College President Dr. Robin Satterwhite noted that currently it will be on the Reese campus, however, the college is in discussion with the Levelland EDC and other entities to obtain some land in Levelland to locate the school here in the near future.
Regents were also introduced to Kathryn Perez who has been named the new Dean of Admissions and Records, she has been with the college for 11 years in another position. They also received a report on the 2019 Spring Housing Occupancy Report. The college is currently at 82.1% occupancy which is in line with previous years. It was also pointed out that occupancy in the spring is generally lower than the fall semesters. Enrollment currently for the Spring 2019 is at 7,555 which is down just .4% from this time last year. It was noted that the ability to keep enrollment level is very good at SPC. Odessa College is looking at a 10% decrease in enrollment.
Regents accepted the monthly financial reports.
Regents also received a marketing update from the Vice President for Institutional Advancement. Recruiters attended 50 college Fairs this past fall. Nine group high school tours were hosted by the Marketing and Recruitment office and provided six school or class presentations. Dr. Satterwhite spoke at six of our larger area high schools and marketing and recruitment had 113 available tours scheduled throughout the semester. The office is making plans for the Senior Sneak Preview set for Friday, February 15th and registration is open.
Regents discussed adding bleachers to the track facility. Currently there are approximately 2000 seats and the addition would add approximately 500 seats. The base cost would be approximately $104,000. This is in preparation for the National Junior College Track meet in 2021 as well as the 1A Regional High School track meet and possibility of moving the 2A track meet to SPC as well as they are wanting to move from the Permian Basin area. The college currently receives approximately $16,000 in revenue from the 1A track meet alone and would expect to double that amount if they added the 2A track meet. The college would be able to pay for the improvements in three years. Without these improvements the 2A track meet will not be moved to SPC. College administration recommended the improvements and Regents approved with little discussion.
Regents also took action to approve a usage fee for the Science Building. It would be a fee of $100 fee for every class taught in that building. Last year 4,398 classes were taught in the Science building. In the fall semester just over 2000 classes were taught in that building. That would provide a guaranteed revenue stream to allow the college to borrow money in good faith with confidence they could move forward with construction and renovation of the new building which has been discussed. The total estimated cost is 13.5 million dollars and currently the college has a private donor making a donation of 6.75 million dollars as well as another $350,000 private commitment. It was noted that Texas Tech uses Building Usage fees on a regular basis to fund buildings. The renovation of this science building is “very important for this college,” said President Dr. Robin Satterwhite. It was noted that Science classes are not taught on any other campus, all SPC Science classes are taught on the Levelland campus. The fee would be eliminated once the money was raised to pay for the building. Regents agreed it was necessary to do this to be able to move forward. The fee will be applied beginning in the Summer 2019. The fee was approved unanimously.
Dr. Satterwhite also presented a Legislative Update to Regents. It was noted that state revenues are up by approximately 8% which is very good. The Texas Association of Community Colleges is asking for an increase in funding for Community Colleges. It was noted that the legislature could base funding on success or enrollment. Community Colleges are also looking at ways to grow Dual Credit courses. It is the goal of the state for every high school senior to have 12 semester hours of college credit completed when they graduate from high school. Other issues concerning Community Colleges include, property tax reform which a proposal is on the books to reduce the tax rollback rate from 8% to 5% and the Governor has a recommendation of reducing it to 2.5%. Their is hope that Community Colleges could be exempt from the proposal. Dual Credit enrollment is also an issue, large colleges are hoping to allow Dual Credit enrollees from outside the college district, their is a lot of resistance to this proposal.
Regents also received a report on a proposed agreement with Texas Tech University with South Plains College. SPC is preparing to sign an agreement with Texas Tech, where Tech will refer any student that does not qualify for enrollment at Texas Tech to South Plains College and SPC students enrolled in the new program will also be able to pay a fee and be allowed use of the TTU Rec center and attend all sporting events. Completion of this agreement also has guaranteed admission to any TTU program as long as they meet the GPA requirements. The agreement will likely be signed in February.