A bill attempting to push South Texas College to open a campus in the Delta region of Hidalgo County passed the Texas House and was received by the Senate on Monday.
Introduced by state Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg, in November, House Bill 382 proposes the new campus be located in Elsa or Edcouch, an area which he said has contributed to the college but lacks access to it.
Canales said Monday he remains confident that the bill, which will be carried by state Sen. Eddie Lucio Jr, D- Brownsville, has a good chance to pass the Senate. But it first must get voted out of committee and the Senate floor before Gov. Greg Abbott can sign it into law.
If passed without any changes, the bill would require STC to establish the new campus within five years. Canales said he believes this is plenty of time for the college to plan ahead.
STC President Shirley Reed said college officials testified in front of the House Higher Education Committee on April 22, but the board of trustees has not taken any official action on the subject.
“It is simply a duplicative of our Mid-Valley campus,” she said.
The Mid-Valley campus, located in Weslaco, is about 12 miles from Edcouch and 10 miles from Elsa. Reed said she understands the need in the Delta region, but there are many other areas in need in the Valley.
The community college has already developed a 10-year plan based on the foreseen needs of the area, Reed said. And several construction projects across its five campuses are also being rolled out using the $159 million bond approved in 2013.