La Feria ISD TIPS Grant Manager Steven Salinas brought more good news as he explained the history of the efforts to open an extension site of a college or university here in the City of La Feria He spoke to a group of community leaders at the Mayor’s Prayer Breakfast May 2.
“A few years ago, Dr. Nabor Cortez, our former Superintendent, along with a few city officials, began discussing the idea of attracting a college or university to open in our city,” explained Salinas.
The initial desire was not only to offer dual-enrollment courses to our high school students, but to extend it to all adults in our local and surrounding communities desiring to continue their education, which would include continuing education programs and workshops.
With lack of transportation, childcare and the cost of gasoline skyrocketing, having a college or university in our city would be a great opportunity for not only our community, but for the surrounding cities as well, being that La Feria is located practically dead-center between Pan American University in Edinburg and the University of Texas at Brownsville.
In August of 2011, a city/school committee was developed to further explore this possibility. The growing desire to have this dream become a reality led to the group contacting local colleges and universities and others, including Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio. As it appeared the plan would not work with the local colleges, the district was invited to discuss the vision with Lady of the Lake Vice President Kim McNutt in fall of 2011. They were captivated by the vision and passion that La Feria had to educate our students and community and an agreement was signed to offer continuing education courses at the Lee Campus facility in May of 2012.
Just the beginning, the district continued to pursue the possibility of offering for credit courses and programs. In October of 2012, a decision was made by OLLU President Dr. Teressa Pollack and their board of trustees to move all the programs currently offered at the TSTC Harlingen campus and relocate them to the former Sam Houston Elementary campus beginning in the Fall of 2013. Also, as of September 2012 Our Lady of the Lake University has offered a number of continuing education courses, and the Cyber Information Security System Bachelor Degree at the Lee Facility in La Feria.
Beginning this fall, the university will offer:
Throughout this coming year, Our Lady of the Lake University will conduct a study, and will consider offering the basic core courses such as Math, History, Science and English beginning in the fall of 2014, along with additional programs of study.
The former Sam Houston Elementary campus is currently undergoing a facelift with some repairs and new paint inside and out and during the summer Lady of the Lake University representatives will rewire the campus to provide the latest technology available.