|PJC regents give go-ahead to buy land for new campus|
|Kerry Craig | News-Telegram Assistant Editor|
Jan. 25, 2006 -- Sulphur Springs will soon be the home of a new Paris Junior College campus.
The announcement came Monday when the community college's board of regents gave the go-ahead to the purchase of 46 acres of land on Hillcrest Drive.
The land, to be acquired from the Sulphur Springs-Hopkins County Economic Development Corporation, is situated between the former HON Co. Building and Texas Department of Transportation offices.
The college is implementing a portion of its five-year strategic plan, completed last year, that proposes building a new campus in Sulphur Springs to replace the existing campus located on West Houston Street.
The current facility opened in the fall of 1996 with an enrollment of 233 students. Since that time, enrollment has grown to almost 800 students in both day and night classes. According to PJC President Dr. Pam Anglin, the Sulphur Springs campus is in need of classroom space and office space for instructors, advisers and counselors.
�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. �We plan to obtain the land and then move forward as quickly as possible with construction of a new campus.�
SWH Group of Dallas is already providing architectural services to the college that include the development of plans for the new facilities in Sulphur Springs, as well as a new campus in Greenville and additions to the campus in Paris.
Roger Feagley, executive director of Sulphur Springs-Hopkins County Economic Development Corporation, said education is a vital part of the continued growth of the area.
"What they are saying now is the key resource any community has is knowledge and people," he said. "Workforce development and economic development are becoming almost the same thing — your biggest resource is your people."
A formal announcement from Paris Junior College concerning the new Sulphur Springs campus can be expected in the very near future, according to a college spokesman.
In other business, college regents approved a February 10 public hearing for an annexation election to be held in Lamar County on May 13. The proposed annexation would bring all of Lamar County into the Paris Junior College District.
Also, the college board voted unanimously to begin a women's volleyball program at PJC next fall. The new women's athletic program will bring the college into full compliance with Title IX requirements.