It was clearly evident shortly after my arrival at Lee College in February, 2012 that the Baytown, Highlands and surrounding communities had a special relationship with the college. Every day since that first realization, I have been reminded of just “how special” that relationship is as it continues to grow. It has been one of those memorable experiences that captivated my attention and drew me closer to the college and the communities. This connection will have a lasting impression on me and Darlene.
As I look to the future for Lee College, I see many exciting opportunities. As you may be aware, our students are supporting an $11 million revenue bond to address a number of important infrastructure needs throughout the main campus. Most of that work should be complete by the Summer of 2020. On the horizon will be a request to support a General Obligation (GO) Bond. The college is currently looking at adding several new instructional programs, as well as continuing our support of business and industry in our region through contract training opportunities. Of course, considering that some buildings on the main campus were constructed in the early 1950s, there will be ongoing maintenance requirements that will require the support of our generous taxpayers.
To guide the College and Board of Regents, a Citizens Bond Advisory Committee (CBAC) continues to meet. This Committee, made up of area citizens and industry representatives, along with college staff, has been instrumental in advising the college on critical projects that need to be undertaken, the potential amount of a General Obligation Bond request, and the timing for holding an election to secure voter approval to fund these projects. Serving on the committee from outside of Lee College are the following: Bo Cox, representing the Baytown Chamber; Gary Englert, Community Bank of Texas; Derek Haywood, Chevron Philips; Bryan Netherly, ExxonMobil; Chris Olson, Covestro; Dr. Anthony Price, Goose Creek CISD; David Roberts, Enterprise Products; BJ Simon, Baytown and West Chambers County Economic Development Foundation; Mike Wilson, Texas First Bank; and Nick Woolery, City of Baytown. Also, on the committee is Stephen Dorman from Sledge Engineering, the firm that prepared the Board approved Strategic Facilities Plan. Lee College employees serving on the committee include Sandy Basquez, Layton Childress, Annette Ferguson, Karen Guthmiller, Mark Jaime, Victoria Marron, Dr. Angela Oriano, Terry Roye and Dr. Veronique Tran.
The CBAC will make recommendations to the board’s Building Committee, which is chaired by Regent Gilbert Santana. In turn, the Building Committee will recommend which projects are needed, the amount of the bond, and when to hold the GO bond election. It has been a pleasure to work with members of the CBAC. They have been actively engaged in the discussions related to the future of Lee College’s facilities.
In looking to the future, Dr. Lynda Villanueva, Lee College’s incoming president (effective Jan. 6, 2020) and I have agreed to write a joint article for the Baytown Sun. My part of the article will take a look at my time as president from 2012 through 2019. I am anxious to get started on writing the article as there are so many wonderful experiences to talk about. Dr. Villanueva’s section of the article will focus on her vision for the future of Lee College. I believe our joint article will be informative, interesting and inspiring. Be on the look out for it in the near future.
Dr. Dennis Brown is president of Lee College.