The South Plains College Board of Regents and administration of SPC held a public meeting Thursday morning to provide information to community leaders on the proposed expansion of South Plains College to downtown Lubbock.
South Plains College President Dr. Robin Satterwhite opened the meeting by stating that the SPC Regents delayed an immediate decision on the matter while they evaluate information and poll the public and make sure they make the best decision for all involved. He pointed out thought “we need to reach out to students not being reached in Lubbock. Business leader, Joe Dee Brooks said “this isn’t a them against us issue, we are all partners, we are not here to run Lubbock off we are simply putting off a decision to review.”
It was pointed out that there are ideas being discussed that can have growth implications and could create additional jobs on the Levelland campus and ways to attract students to the Levelland campus. Dr. Satterwhite said that SPC has had a presence at the Reese Center for over 20 years and enrollment has declined on that campus. He noted those students are not going to other SPC campuses, we are losing them to other colleges and universities. He also noted that we are missing many students in Lubbock who simply cannot afford to drive to Levelland for classes. He also pointed out that Texas Tech students would attend more classes at South Plains College if it was more accessible. He also stated that currently SPC has approximately $15 million of grants committed toward the expansion and renovation of the old Lubbock City Hall for the SPC Downtown Lubbock center, as well as additional money for future operation. Satterwhite also pointed out that we cannot lose focus of the fact that SPC does make money from the Lubbock Campus and the Reese campus.
Dr. Satterwhite also discussed the fact that the college is losing some students to online courses. He said college administration and regents are looking at ways to shift some of those students to face to face courses as they are more successful in most cases.
There was concerns that when the college does something on the Lubbock campus they are letting programs on the Levelland campus. Dr. Satterwhite said he agreed to a point and said the Regents and administration have to be careful not to duplicate programs within driving distances and make improvements to programs on the Levelland campus as well.
There was much discussion on the fact that the college is not offering night classes and for the most part does not have classes on Friday. It was pointed out that the decision was a student led decision, as several years ago students quit enrolling in Monday-Wednesday-Friday classes, so the college made the decision to move to a Tuesday/Thursday and Monday/Wednesday schedule.
Community Business owner, Richard Husen pointed out that “we have to realize times have changed in the 60 years SPC has been in existence.” He noted that in the early days of SPC, typical students was going to college on their parents money and now the typical student is paying their own way through college and need to work to be able and pay the college tuition and fees, which could help explain the four day week. He also said the college has to recruit students and we must work to recruit students that are out of our College District. He said “no one sits still, you advance or decline.” He also went on to say, “for this college to grow we have to look at this opportunity and make our presence int he Lubbock market larger than it is currently. He reminded everyone, that with the stroke of the pen of the state legislature another community college could be formed in Lubbock.
KLVT News carried the entire Town Hall meeting on Facebook Live and that video is posted on the KLVT Radio Facebook page under videos.