UHV expansion could add $2.8 billion to region's economy


April 20, 2010 at 7 p.m.
Updated April 19, 2010 at 11:20 p.m.

The University of Houston-Victoria's expansion could pump $2.8 billion into the local economy.

Randy Vivian, president of the Victoria Chamber of Commerce, presented the estimate Tuesday based on projected university enrollment between 2015 and 2024.

Vivian and the rest of the Crossroads Commission on Education met Tuesday to discuss the economic impact UHV could have during this 10-year period - if the university builds a new campus.

The commission recommends the UH System Board of Regents request $71 million in state appropriations to fund the construction of a new UHV campus.

Some taxes Victorians already pay to the state should return to Victoria to fund a new campus, Vivian said.

"We're not talking about adding tax increases to the city of Victoria. These are taxes already paid we're asking to bring back to Victoria," Vivian said. "There are appropriations that come down to the universities from the state. We'd like to see some of the money we're sending off to Austin come back to Victoria to build a destination university."

The commission hopes to have the appropriations locked up by the next legislative session, which is in 2011, Vivian said. The commission would also like UHV's construction for a separate Airline Road campus to begin in 2012 and open in 2015.

A new campus could lead to 933 direct university jobs and 839 indirect jobs - or 1,772 total jobs in a 10-year span, Vivian said.

Those and other estimates came from a $1,500 study by Impact DataSource and to be paid by Victoria Economic Development Corp.

An Impact DataSource researcher used a nationally-recognized formula to calculate economic effects, said Dale Fowler, the economic development corporation's president and chief executive officer.

"All we provided the consultant was the investment estimation. He took that $71.5 million university investment and learned what that could spur," Fowler said.

Factors such as projected student, faculty and staff growth prompted estimated effects on off-shoot benefits, such as new residents, residential properties and taxable sales in the community.

The Crossroads Commission on Education commission, started in March by state Rep. Geanie Morrison, R-Victoria, is made of 21 local leaders who meet weekly to discuss how education in the Crossroads can improve.

The goal is to create a plan that will produce a more highly skilled workforce locally to spur more economic opportunities in the area.



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