PJC closer to building new Sulphur Springs campus
College, EDC formally announce sale of property; PJC entering into agreement with A&M-Commerce on biomedical degree
Kerry Craig | News-Telegram Assistant Editor

Aug. 8, 2006 -- The sale of a 46-acre tract of land for a new Paris Junior College campus in Sulphur Springs was formally announced today at a press conference at the Hopkins County Chamber of Commerce.

The Paris Junior College Board of Regents opened the door to a new Sulphur Springs campus in January with the authorization to purchase the site, located across from the Sulphur Springs airport, from the Sulphur Springs-Hopkins County Economic Development Corporation.

Tom Sellers, representing the EDC, said the commitment being made by PJC is very important for the area.

"This is just a wonderful opportunity for Sulphur Spring and Hopkins County, not only for its citizens, but for the economic development of this county for the future," Sellers said. "Economic Development Corporation is thrilled to have the opportunity to sell  this property. Economic development is not just about bringing industry into the community. The most important thing we can do as far as economics is educate people, and an educated work force is what this country really demands."

PJC President Dr. Pamela Anglin also said PJC would be entering into an articulation agreement with Texas A&M University on biomedical science in the next few weeks.

"What we will be doing is offering the first two years of that biomedical science degree at Paris Junior College," Dr. Anglin said. "If a student follows the degree plan, takes the upper level math and sciences that are required at PJC and maintain a 3.6 grade-point average or better, they will be accepted into the program at A&M-College Station."

The new program would allow students to get 67 hours at community college price before going in a a junior student at A&M.

A strategic five-year plan by the college that began last year is proposing the new campus be built to replace the existing Sulphur Springs Higher Education Center on Houston Street.

After opening as the Sulphur Springs Technical Center in 1996 with an enrollment of just over 200 students, the local campus now has a student population of more than 800  in both day and night classes.

Dr. Anglin said earlier this year the education center has simply outgrown the local campus.

"We are in need of classroom space and facilities that will enable us to provide the best college education possible to a growing number of students," Dr. Anglin said in January.

Dr. Anglin gave much of the credit for the growth of the Sulphur Springs campus to Dr. Linda Bennet, director of the higher education center, for her work with the students from the first few in one room to an enrollment that has outgrown the current facilities.

Sulphur Springs Independent School District Superintendent Patsy Bolton said it has been exciting to watch the growth of the college and the Sulphur Springs campus that first started in a little room with just a few students behind the SSISD administration building.

"It has progressed to the point it has outgrown the Tech Center and for PJC to have a campus of its own," Bolton said. "I think it is very exciting."

Since the purchase of the land, the board of regents has authorized bonds in the amount of $7.5 million to finance the construction phase of the new campus facilities.

SWH Group of Dallas, is developing the master plan for campuses in Sulphur Springs, Paris and Greenville, and is designing the campus for Sulphur Springs.

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