There is a lot of information to share with you. You can’t see us, but we are very busy supporting students and adjusting to the current situation.
By sharing information with you, we hope to keep you informed about LSCPA which will keep the community informed.
- Last year, LSCPA received a grant from the EDA ($4.8 million) and EDC ($1 million) to renovate the Armory Building which is located on Lakeshore Drive next to the softball field. The renovation of this building will allow LSCPA to offer state-of-the-art crafts training to the community, enhancing job readiness skills of our community. To date, we are near completion of the schematic design of the project. Construction will begin in mid-spring 2021.
- The Ruby Fuller Building renovation is progressing according to plans. The architectural plans are 95% complete and waiting for approval by the Texas State University System office. As soon as the plan is approved, a contractor will be selected and renovations will begin in fall 2021. We plan to respect the historical features of this building while creating a modern interior space to house academic support services for disadvantaged students.
- The Seawall Café, located in the Student Center, was scheduled to be renovated this summer. As a result of the campus closing in March, we were able to begin the renovation in April rather than late May. The renovation should be completed in late June.
- Dr. Deborrah Hebert, Dean of Student Services, has resigned effective May 31, 2020. We are in the process of interviewing candidates and hope to have a new Dean of Student Services hired by June 2020.
- The Sabine Showdown Fishing Tournament, which was a great success in its inaugural year in 2019, is scheduled for September 12, 2020. We began working on sponsorships several weeks ago.
The COVID-19 pandemic will prove to have a significant impact on LSCPA. I do not have a crystal ball, but I can tell you several things about the impact.
- All courses have been converted to an online format so students can complete their coursework while adhering to the requirement of social distancing. For the most part, online instruction is going well. We are grateful that Spectrum has provided WiFi at no cost so students are able to access their courses online.
- The campus is currently closed to the general public. There are some employees in key offices on campus so they can complete campus business.
- Enrollment is not as robust as it has been in the past. Many LSCPA students are low-income students and they support their education by working while enrolled in college. If they lose their jobs, they will not have the income to register for class. If their parents contribute to their education and the parents lose their jobs, their financial situation is compounded.
The pervasiveness of this situation is unknown but we will be watching it closely.
- LSCPA will receive about $1 million from the CARES legislation. The funds are intended to mitigate the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. At least half of the funds must directly benefit students. We will be working in the next few weeks to determine how to best distribute the funds.
- LSCPA has a Food Bank to address food insufficiency among our students. A few weeks ago, we noticed that the Food Bank was being accessed more frequently. To further help students, we applied for support from the Sempra Hardship Fund. We are pleased to report that our application was approved. Funds totaling $20,000 will be used to stock the Food Bank and provide H-E-B and Market Basket gift cards for students to purchase food and assist with other student needs.
- It’s a Team Effort! As I watch our students, faculty, and staff continue in their efforts to combat this invisible enemy, my heart bursts with pride and warmth for them and their families. They are adapting to a new world by facing challenges, solving problems, and making it work.
As you can see, we have been very busy. The activities this year and the events of previous years have been challenging. Between Hurricane Harvey, Tropical Storm Imelda, the TPC plant explosion, and a global pandemic, we have been challenged and, more importantly, our students and community have been challenged … all in the past five years.
Moving forward, I pray for one semester or one year that we do not have a disaster to respond to and recover.
I hope each of you and your families are doing well during these difficult times.
Stay safe, stay home.
Betty Reynard, President
Betty Reynard, Ed.D., President
Lamar State College Port Arthur
PO Box 310 / Port Arthur, TX 77641