Missouri City campus is a good deal

Alyssa Foley, Editor in Chief

“It became clear that the enrollment at that campus was lower than what was expected,” explained Trustee Neeta Sane, “you can’t even see it where it is. It’s in a closed-knit corner of Sienna.”

A new Missouri City campus is being built off Texas Parkway, it’s will be the third site in the campus’ history. While classes continue at the Sienna Plantation neighborhood location for now, the campus was sold to Fort Bend county and the land back to the real estate firm the college originally purchased it from.

While the exact amount the campus has lost in the move is debated, the college administration places the net book loss for the transaction at $4 million.

Sane represents District VII, which the Missouri City campus falls under. She said that as campus enrollment faltered, the focused turned to, “how can this campus now become more accessible, more visible for our students?”

“HCC eventually came up with a design to offer special programs for that campus with the goal to enroll more students and prepare more students for the jobs that are growing here in the local region,” explained Sane.

With Fort Bend County and the non-profit George Foundation coming through with financial support for the move, “it was an absolute moment of pride to see that the community is also behind us, supporting us, as we move,” recalled Sane, “because of the community’s support and backing, HCC was able to move forward with a more suitable location for this particular Missouri City campus.”

“It’s a win-win because we are increasing the accessibility for students, it’s visible to the community,” said Sane about the new location, “it will offer better educational opportunities for our students.”

The new campus will host programs for entrepreneurship, technology and health sciences. Many new hospitals and medical facilities are opening in Sugar Land, and the area is booming with small businesses.

Sane says that for a complete analysis of the move, three major factors need to be considered.  

First is that when Missouri City was annexed, HCC made a commitment to the community that  they would have a campus, “and not just have a campus but a well-performing campus,” Sane noted.

“We’re not just here to build buildings, but we want to make sure that we have high-performing and better operating campuses,” stated Sane, “our commitments are steadfast and we stick by them.”

The second thing to consider are legal aspects and financial means. Trustee Sane explained that when HCC purchased the land from the Johnson Corporation back in 2002 and 2004, there were two conditions in the contract.

The first was the right of first opportunity, which gave the real estate firm the first right to purchase the land back from HCC at a locked-in price. Also, a deed restriction prevented anyone but HCC from developing on the land.

“That’s what we have today to deal with,” explained Sane regrettably, “we have no choice but to follow that agreement.” Sane was elected in 2007 after the Sienna location was purchased.

“They [the Johnson Corporation] were ready to buy it back, and there was no other bid that came in to buy it back,” noted Sane. HCC sold the undeveloped 33 acre tract of land back to the the Johnson Corporation for $2.5 million, while the other approximately 12 acres and campus building was sold to Fort Bend County for $8 million.

The third aspect which Sane believes gives a comprehensive view of the move is “What is the value added economic benefit to HCC?” What HCC is leaving behind is being “matched and exceeded by the value-added developments.”

“HCC is able to offer a campus on Texas Parkway that will showcase what the campus is meant to be….it is high time that we have a campus in Missouri City that performs well, that is located at the right site and it solves the community’s needs,” Sane concluded that, “it’s benefiting the community more than I could have imagined.”