RANGER, Texas – Ranger College President Dr. William J. Campion has always maintained that the college would have an expanding presence in the Brownwood/Early area.
That presence could be substantially larger, and at a new location, in the near future.
Campion announced last week that Ranger College and Texas State Technical College (TSTC) had signed a Memorandum of Intent between the two educational entities to explore the possibility of combing the two campuses. Such a move would see Ranger College move from the Heartland Mall complex it has operated for the past six years to the larger TSTC location at 205 Booker Street in Brownwood.
“This is not something we are taking lightly,” said Campion. “but this is something we need to look into so we are going to proceed with the study along with TSTC to see if this is something that is feasible and helps both institutions.”
Campion said TSTC Chancellor Michael L. Reeser visited Ranger College’s main campus recently to discuss the possibility of a working agreement that would enable Ranger College and TSTC to develop and expand programs that could be beneficial to both institutions through a shared facility.
“All these deliberations will be guided by a commitment to student-serving, cost-reducing and space-sharing efforts that will not only benefit present and future students but also the State of Texas as well,” said the MOI, which was signed on Aug. 24 by both Campion and Reeser. The Letter also stipulated that “these institutions through designated representatives as well as the above Chancellor and President, commit to studying ways to share costs, expand programs mutually advantageous to both institutions as well as develop new programs beneficial to both institutions.”
Campion said relocating the Ranger College campus to the Brownwood facility would give the college additional room, as well as potentially provide revenue to the institution. The TSTC building, which was recently remodeled, currently has ample unused space. That space, he said, would make it possible for the college to grow and better serve the Brown County region.
The move could also signal the end of the college’s campus in the Heartland Mall in Early. Ranger College has invested more than $1 million in upgrades and improvements to the mall infrastructure since opening the campus in 2010. Those improvements, along with the funding it took to make them would be lost, he said.
A potential move could also solve tedious contract negotiations with the out-of-state owners of the Heartland Mall. Mall officials have been pressuring the college to sign a long-term contract or face having the space leased to a new entity when the contract expires on June 30, 2016. Last winter and spring, the college worked diligently to complete a 5-year lease without success as officials were in the process of reorganization.
The Ranger College Board of Regents voted to renew the contract several months ago but has since decided to put the contract on hold to determine the best future for the campus in Brown County.
“This is something we, as a college, must examine,” said Campion. “We feel it is in the best interest for the college and its students to look into anything that would enable us to better serve Brownwood, Early and the entire area in the most complete and efficient manner.”
He also noted that Early would always enjoy a physical presence from the college.