College receives boost to fundraising efforts

Howard College trustees will get an update on construction plans for the district's San Angelo campus when they hold their monthly meeting at 12:30 p.m. Monday in the Student Union Building's Tumbleweed Room.College officials announced earlier this year plans to expand its San Angelo campus with the addition of two buildings adjacent to the West Texas Training Center. Total price tag for the project is estimated at between $8 million and $9 million, said Dr. Cheryl Sparks, Howard College president.Officials plan to finance the project without taxpayer money, instead relying on private donations and a revenue bond paid for through student fees.During Monday's meeting, trustees will get a bit of good news on the fundraising front.“The San Angelo Health Foundations has donated $1 million to our construction fund,” Sparks said. “This is a tremendous advancement in our fundraising efforts. We're definitely getting closer to our goal.”One of the new buildings will be used to expand the campus' classroom space, while the other will house student services such as a library and offices for admissions and financial aid.Enrollment at the San Angelo campus has increased dramatically in the past few years. Currently, more than 2,700 students take classes there, making it the largest campus in the Howard College district.“We simply need more space,” Sparks said.Officials hope to have the new buildings open for students by early 2014.Also Monday, trustees will get a progress report on construction of an agricultural science complex at the Big Spring campus.Sparks said the complex, financed entirely through donations from the G.C. Broughton Foundation, will consist of an open-air pavilion, which is already complete, a show barn and an instructional building. The complex is located just east of Memorial Stadium.Sparks said construction of the show barn and instructional building should begin within the next few weeks. Once complete, the complex will house all the college's agricultural science programs.“The complex will also help us work with area high schools, the extension service and local agriculture producers to further the ag industry in this area,” Sparks said.