PAnews.com, Port Arthur, Texas

October 8, 2013

Progress continues on LSC-PA dorm plans

Erinn Callahan
The Port Arthur News

PORT ARTHUR — Lamar State College-Port Arthur is continuing efforts to establish student housing on campus.

The estimated cost of the construction is $6.6 million, according to an estimator in Houston whose help the college enlisted three months ago. That will cover the cost of 100 beds, said LSC-PA president Sam Monroe. The complex, most likely to be located in the 1600 block of Lakeshore Drive, will feature both double and single occupancy rooms, and will be available to any student enrolled in on-campus classes at LSC-PA.

The college has submitted an application to the Port Arthur Economic Development Corporation (EDC) and will lay out the current plans for the dormitories in a presentation at the Oct. 14 EDC meeting. EDC director Floyd Batiste will present an architectural rendering of the dorms and discuss the amenities that would be available to residents, including laundry rooms and Internet and cable access. LSC-PA is asking for $3 million from the city, which the board will vote on whether or not to provide.

Plans for student housing began formulating in 2011, when the college conducted a feasibility study that confirmed a growing demand for on-campus dormitories. In March, Rep. Joe Deshotel, D-Beaumont, and Sen. Tommy Williams, R-The Woodlands, introduced House Bill 2473, which permitted the EDC to use tax proceeds in connection with housing facilities for institutions of higher education. The bill was signed into law by Gov. Rick Perry on June 14.

While he cannot speak for the other members of the EDC, Batiste said he believes the board wants to see the project come to fruition.

“The board of directors initiated the legislative change, and the reason was to see the project happen,” he said. “They are going to weigh all the options and hopefully negotiate and reach some terms with Lamar State College-Port Arthur.”

Although he doesn’t have a timetable, Monroe said he is also optimistic about the project’s success. Currently LSC-PA student athletes are housed in rented apartments throughout the community. This project would allow the college to house the athletes on campus, Monroe said.

“It gives way to refocus living accommodations for our student athletes,” he said. “We’ll also be in a position to recruit people from outside the immediate area.”

Email: ecallahan@panews.com

Twitter: @ErinnPA