Jump to content

University of Houston To Buy Old Compaq Campus On Highway 290?


Recommended Posts

July 20, 2006, 5:04PM

Concerns put UH's satellite on back burner

Lawmakers and neighbor schools question need for northwest campus

By MATTHEW TRESAUGUE

Copyright 2006 Houston Chronicle

The University of Houston has been forced to delay plans for a satellite campus in the growing northwest suburbs because of concerns that the new competition could cripple neighboring universities.

The proposed campus would provide upper-level and graduate courses on property now owned by Hewlett-Packard Corp., with a projected enrollment of more than 5,000 students by 2012. The university has agreed to buy the former Compaq Computers site for nearly $39 million.

UH's push across town has irked some state lawmakers and administrators at Prairie View A&M and Sam Houston State universities, which offer similar academic programs near the proposed location at Hwy 290 and Barker Cypress.

The complaints have prompted the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board to postpone a vote scheduled for today. By delaying official action, the board informally instructed UH administrators to hold off buying the property.

Before the board approves the expansion plans, several questions must be addressed, said Ray Grasshoff, the body's spokesman. For example, it's unclear whether the northwest suburbs need the proposed campus.

A big source of discomfort among educators and lawmakers is the lack of analysis about how the UH campus would affect enrollments for existing programs.

"I don't want to criticize access and opportunity to higher education, which the University of Houston says it is proposing," said George Wright, Prairie View A&M's president. "But I want us to be aware of the implications."

UH leaders want an answer from the board by September, fearful that a longer wait would jeopardize the deal with Hewlett-Packard. The university plans to buy the property with state bond money, which requires the board's approval.

Modeled after satellites

The 47-acre site includes three office buildings, a manufacturing facility and four parking garages. The university intends to renovate two buildings for academic use and lease the remaining space for university-related purposes in time for the spring 2007 semester.

The proposal calls for 44 degree programs in "high-demand disciplines," including business, education and engineering. Administrators plan to assign the equivalent of 90 full-time faculty members, including a dean, to the campus.

There is no intent to create a free-standing university, officials said. Rather the campus would be modeled after UH's smaller satellites at Cinco Ranch and Sugar Land, which combined to enroll more than 3,000 students last semester.

Two years ago, the university's governing board identified northwest Houston as the next place for expansion because of the region's surging population. About 1.4 million reside in the area, up from about 875,000 in 1990, a 60 percent increase.

What's more, the Cypress-Fairbanks Independent School District is the third-largest in the state, and the two-year Cy-Fair College, which opened in 2002, already has more than 9,000 students.

"This area is a huge area, and we're delighted with the opportunity for more upper-level courses within a quick driving distance," said Darcy Mingoia, president of the Cy-Fair Houston Chamber of Commerce, which has endorsed UH's plan.

Not everyone is so sanguine. Administrators at nearby universities are questioning the need for the new campus, as state funding is becoming scarcer.

"This is a very expensive proposal, and there has been no sort of analysis about the need for an additional campus," said Charles Matthews, chancellor of the Texas State University System, which includes Sam Houston State. "I don't believe there is a problem with access."

About 40 percent of the 2,500 students who attend Sam Houston State's satellite in The Woodlands commute from the area surrounding UH's proposed campus, Matthews said. It's a 22-mile drive between campuses.

Within four miles of the proposed campus, Prairie View A&M operates a satellite, offering eight master's and doctoral programs in business, education, engineering and psychology with plans for more. UH has proposed to offer many of the same programs.

Civil rights may be factor

Overall, Prairie View A&M draws nearly 40 percent of its 8,000 students from northwest Houston. Another campus could adversely affect the historically black institution's enrollment and, therefore, its income, said Wright, the university's president.

Wright said UH's proposal would undermine state and federal civil rights agreements of the past 25 years that called for Texas to strengthen and enhance facilities and academic programs at Prairie View A&M.

Those agreements pointed to northwest Houston as the best place for Prairie View A&M to expand and diversify.

"Given the anticipated population growth of Houston, there are probably enough students for everyone," Wright said. "But we are still, in many ways, an emerging institution, and we need time to grow."

Several black lawmakers, including state Sen. Rodney Ellis and state Reps. Garnet Coleman and Senfronia Thompson, all Democrats from Houston, wrote to the coordinating board, expressing similar concerns.

Donald Foss, provost and senior vice president for academic affairs at UH, said he intends to meet with Wright "to find ways for Prairie View to thrive and serve the region."

At the same time, Foss is not overly concerned about duplication because of the increasing demand for programs.

He said the proximity to Sam Houston State's satellite should not be an issue because the area between the two campuses is densely populated, noting UH's main campus is about the same distance from UH-Clear Lake.

Edited by mrfootball
Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 93
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

I was hoping they would build a new Mall here.

I suppose the UH campus would be an asset. The Prairie View people are ridiculous. For crying out loud, they have their very own campus about 15 minutes down the road on 290, and I sincerely doubt they'll have that much more of a market for students in an area that's 80% white. They're pulling out the "Civil Rights" threat...against UH of all places. Good lord. As for the Sam Houston people? Come on! With some 40% of the students at The Woodlands campus coming from NW Houston....it's time these out-of-town blowhards (PV & Sam) got out of the way so that UH can get this done for area residents.

I'd rather see it go to UT, A&M or Tech.

Actually, I'd rather have a new Mall. :rolleyes:

Edited by mrfootball
Link to comment
Share on other sites

I hope they realize how prone that facility is to flooding. It sits right on Cypress creek. I have seen the entire entire parking lot flooded on a number of occasions, and the water took days to recede at times.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I don't think the other universities should complain too much about it. Some people choose their academic education by name and familiarity (mom/dad/bro/sis was alum of one or another) as opposed to close proximity to their homes.

in regards to the flooding issues, it only does it a couple of times a year, eh? we don't flood THAT often, and if it does, most of the time if it does, classes are generally cancelled.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

in regards to the flooding issues, it only does it a couple of times a year, eh? we don't flood THAT often, and if it does, most of the time if it does, classes are generally cancelled.

I was thinking more in terms of classroom and equipment damage rather than mere inconvenience.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

what happened to all the hp-compaq employyes?

The ones that survived the massive cuts resulting from the HP-merger (brilliant :rolleyes: ), now work at the main HP campus at 249 and Louetta. The campus they (UH) are referring to is the old Texas Instruments campus that became another major Compaq site (290 @ Skinner Rd) between Barker Cypress and Spring Cypress. It's a very large facility.

Edited by mrfootball
Link to comment
Share on other sites

It's a very large facility.

Why in the world is Sam Houston State worried about this? And if you are bound for PV you are bound for PV. I doubt you'd even consider UH.

I used to work for Compaq in this building. TI used to build printers here.

It's 1/2 a mile end-to-end so we'd walk a mile during lunch.

As far as flooding, even during Allison it only came into the parking lot, so no big deal.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I was hoping they would build a new Mall here.

I suppose the UH campus would be an asset. The Prairie View people are ridiculous. For crying out loud, they have their very own campus about 15 minutes down the road on 290, and I sincerely doubt they'll have that much more of a market for students in an area that's 80% white. They're pulling out the "Civil Rights" threat...against UH of all places. Good lord. As for the Sam Houston people? Come on! With some 40% of the students at The Woodlands campus coming from NW Houston....it's time these out-of-town blowhards (PV & Sam) got out of the way so that UH can get this done for area residents.

I'd rather see it go to UT, A&M or Tech.

Actually, I'd rather have a new Mall. :rolleyes:

You're criticizing Prairie View for wanting a campus when their main campus is 15 minutes down the road, yet you want them to build a new mall there when there's already a mall 3 minutes down the road?!

Are you still on the idea that Willowbrook Mall is too dangerous to shop at? So dangerous, in fact, that there needs to be another mall built a few feet away for the white people to shop at? I don't think it's dangerous to shop there so much as the people who are used to it being all white can't accept that lower income families have begun populating nearby areas and may just want to shop there along with their hip hop/thug appareled teenage children. All I can say is that demographic shifts are always taking place. There's nothing you can do about it, but you don't have to quit shopping at Willowbrook just because it's no longer predictably 90% white like it was in the good ol 1990s.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

yet you want them to build a new mall there when there's already a mall 3 minutes down the road?!

:wacko:

There's a mall 3-minutes down the road? Where?

Are you kidding? You must not know the area very well. It takes about 20-minutes to get to Willowbrook Mall from Longwood. Hell, it takes 15-minutes just to get to 249. And we're closer than most other parts of Cypress. It only takes a few more minutes (less than 25) for me to get to Memorial City.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

decentralization of these enormous institutions is better for everyone. think, memorial hermann and st. luke's. now, before you say "apples and oranges", consider the benefits of easy access and commuting costs. if all major universities would consider more satellite sites, imagine how many more people could continue their education while working or taking care of their kids. imagine how enrollment would swell. it would be good for our region. it would be good for U of H.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

July 20, 2006, 5:04PM

Concerns put UH's satellite on back burner

Lawmakers and neighbor schools question need for northwest campus

By MATTHEW TRESAUGUE

Copyright 2006 Houston Chronicle

The proposed campus would provide upper-level and graduate courses on property now owned by Hewlett-Packard Corp., with a projected enrollment of more than 5,000 students by 2012.

This isn't such a bad deal. I would have more of a problem with it if UH planned to offer lower-level undergrad courses there.

For those working folks who want to take some night classes to earn a master's degree and not have to drive past downtown, this is good.

Edited by gonzo1976
Link to comment
Share on other sites

mrfootbal, my mom graduated from PV when all there was was black people. PV is not the same anymore. My brother went to a summer program there when they pay you $1600 for staying on campus for six weeks. He said that thee are a lot of white people in the program who want to go to PV. I have seen a lot there, too. Then, a lot of teachers there are foreign (Indian, Chinese, Vietnamese, etc.). So PV is becoming more diverse. My mom even told me there was talk of changing their campus name to Texas A&M University at Praire View.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

MrFootball, I agree wholeheartedly. I'm 25 and have a bachelor's degree, but I'm having to drive from my house to U of H central campus to take courses for my Master's. The commuting gets really frustrating at times with the traffic. I say put a UH satellite in the Woodlands, which would work for all of north Houston area, just like the UH Clear Lake works for all south and east Houston. Then they might need a west Houston location also, if we're going to be fair. The problem with what's being offered at the satellites currently is that your Master's program won't be available. You'd have to go to the central campus for that. I'd love to be able to get my Master's in north Houston without having to transfer to a different school.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You can alreday get your tea-sip MBA at Hotel Za-Za. And UH did not file a protest on that move.

UH did lead the effort block the Aggy take over of STCL.

Poor Aggy is just dying to use state funds for a law school.

tea-sip MBA.....TEA-SIP MBA!!!! (ROFL) :lol:

Incidentally, I recently received a nasty phone call from UHCL saying that I had an outstanding account balance. I replied: "...why THANK you."

Link to comment
Share on other sites

MrFootball, I agree wholeheartedly. I'm 25 and have a bachelor's degree, but I'm having to drive from my house to U of H central campus to take courses for my Master's. The commuting gets really frustrating at times with the traffic. I say put a UH satellite in the Woodlands, which would work for all of north Houston area, just like the UH Clear Lake works for all south and east Houston. Then they might need a west Houston location also, if we're going to be fair. The problem with what's being offered at the satellites currently is that your Master's program won't be available. You'd have to go to the central campus for that. I'd love to be able to get my Master's in north Houston without having to transfer to a different school.

the university center at college park offers several master's programs. participating universities include a&m, ut, sam houston and u of h, prairie view a&m and u of h downtown. each university offers specific degree programs. so, if you want a business degree or mba, you have to go through shsu (i think). it is limited. however, if convenience tops the university of your choice, there it is.

ok, i'm a dork. i just reread your post. yes, you would have to transfer to another school unless your specific master's program is being offered by UH at the university center. i too would like to have a UH satellite near the woodlands. the degree plan i would like to be working on is only offered at the main campus and is not offered by any other institution at the university center.

Edited by bachanon
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Why does your version say "290 and Barker Cypress" while the one on chron.com and in the paper itself says "Texas 249 and Louetta"?

http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/nb/spr...ws/4059185.html

Because the Chronicle got their facts wrong (surprise!)...

UH contracted to buy the Compaq facility on 290. HP is still at the main campus on 249, though they have begun subleasing buildings out to ExxonMobil.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The University of Houston has been forced to delay plans for a satellite campus in the growing northwest suburbs because of concerns that the new competition could cripple neighboring universities.

I agree. Why have one good universtiy when you can have a bunch of little crappy ones?

It's academia, though. I shouldn't be surprised they haven't noticed that competition is good for the marketplace.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Because the Chronicle got their facts wrong (surprise!)...

UH contracted to buy the Compaq facility on 290. HP is still at the main campus on 249, though they have begun subleasing buildings out to ExxonMobil.

HP is in the process of vacating five, 8-10 story buildings on the 249 campus and consolidating the employees in the remaining buildings (I work in one of these buildings). In addition, there are 3 other office buildings and a manufacturing building that are already vacant (I think this is what the Chronicle article refers to for UH as there are 3 office buildings, 1 manufacturing building and 4 parking garages... this section of campus is kind of separate from the rest.) I've heard Exxon is one of the new tenants and I've also heard the UH rumors before the Chronicle article. There certainly would be plenty of space for someone other than Exxon. I think the Prarie View concern is because of their "campus" at Cypresswood and Stuebner Airline.

Edited by mark324
Link to comment
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...
×
×
  • Create New...