By James Dusek
Northeast Lakeview College has three projects in the proposed Capital Improvement Project bond plan: a new science building, technology center of excellence and improvements to the college’s physical plant.
The science and technology buildings may be combined into one to reduce costs, but that’s still undecided, said Lakeview President Veronica Garcia. She said the projects were chosen after research into the area surrounding Lakeview.
“My understanding is they’ve done some environmental scans. They’ve looked at our population — we’re mostly a transfer college — and they identified what programs would be more successful at our institution,” Garcia said. “Definitely, we have a lot of high, strong science and math in our area.”
If Lakeview earns its accreditation, the technology building will be used in part to house workforce and technology programs. Lakeview’s accreditation will be undecided, and until the college is accredited, it is unable to offer workforce programs.
The college’s accreditation is expected to be decided at the December board meeting of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.
William Fanning, dean of professional and technical education at Northeast Lakeview, said the details of the technical building will depend upon the programs the college ultimately decides to offer. “We don’t know what the outcome of the exploration is yet, so we don’t know the programs that we will focus on,” Fanning said.
Fanning and Garcia described the college’s attitude toward workforce programs as “exploratory.” They said they are unable to plan for the programs until the college is accredited.
Garcia said the agency’s February visit was promising as it did not find any major issues that might affect accreditation.
Kathleen Labus, director of public relations at the college, said the space might be used for academic programs, which she said would be needed as enrollment increases. “We’re still anticipating growth on our end,” Labus said. “And the buildings are needed to support that growth.”
A Jan. 10 presentation to trustees presented Northeast Lakeview’s 2015 full-time student equivalent enrollment as 3,932, and projected 32.3 percent growth to 5,202 by 2025.
Full-time student equivalent enrollment uses the total credit hours being taken at the college divided by 12 to find the number of full-time students the college could be serving. A report from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board reported 3,332 students at Northeast Lakeview and projected more conservative growth. The report used actual enrollment.
Science Chair Neil McCrary did not respond to multiple requests for comment on the state of Lakeview’s facilities.