Memorandum of Understanding authorized for downtown academic center

Updated: Apr. 12, 2018 at 6:58 PM CDT
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Provided by City of Lubbock

The City of Lubbock, South Plains College (SPC), and the Lubbock Economic Development Alliance (LEDA) have approved a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for the possible establishment of a South Plains College Downtown Lubbock Academic Center.

The agreement, approved by the Lubbock City Council, the SPC Board of Regents, and the LEDA Board of Directors, outlines a commitment to move toward establishing a downtown academic center.

"This is a great opportunity for the organizations, the community, and especially those who would benefit from additional access to education and training programs," District 1 City Councilman Juan Chadis said. "Bringing more people to downtown Lubbock also benefits revitalization efforts that continue to advance."

"Investments in education and economic development are key to our city's success," District 3 City Councilman Jeff Griffith said. "There is power in collaboration, and when organizations partner for the benefit of the city and the region everyone wins."

South Plains College serves a 15 county area with a mission to provide education and training for the South Plains region. With its main campus in Levelland, having a presence in downtown Lubbock would complement its mission.

"This potential would allow South Plains College to better meet the needs of students within the City of Lubbock and create a more accessible pathway for students seeking an associate degree from SPC or baccalaureate degree from our transfer universities," South Plains College President Dr. Robin Satterwhite said. "Higher education students face a number of barriers to completing their degree, and our goal is to reduce those barriers through strategic partnerships with the local community."

"Convenience of access to educational opportunities not only strengthens our community and workforce, but more importantly provides additional options for those thinking about post-secondary education," Texas Tech University President Dr. Lawrence Schovanec said. "Lubbock and the surrounding communities have been well served by higher education, and Texas Tech University supports the City and South Plains College in their efforts to enhance access."

LEDA's mission is to promote economic growth by creating high-quality jobs, investing in new capital improvements, and improving Lubbock's quality of life.

"We accomplish our mission by developing relationships like this that provide a skilled and qualified workforce," LEDA Board of Directors Chairman Tim Collins said. "A downtown academic center would provide a base for students to connect with area businesses that could lead to internships and future employment."

"The addition of South Plains College to downtown would only strengthen the current revitalization efforts by increasing customer traffic for downtown businesses," LEDA CEO John Osborne said. "A student population would also provide additional incentive for new businesses to locate downtown."

The three entities have committed to work together over the next twelve months to evaluate the feasibility of the academic center, potential course offerings, costs for repurposing the current City Hall, funding sources from LEDA, South Plains College, and private partners, as well as negotiate the transfer of the buildings and parking lots from the City to South Plains College.