Fort Bliss in line for community college campus
El Paso Times
EL PASO, Texas — El Paso Community College plans to build a campus at Fort Bliss, and officials hope to open it by 2016.
The college is reviewing the first draft of a lease with U.S. Department of the Army for 70 acres near Loop 375 and Spur 601, next to the new Beaumont Army Medical Center that is already under construction.
Ernst Roberts, EPCC's vice president for administration and financial operations, said the college and the Army agreed in March to build the campus on the post.
A public college on a military base is rare, officials said.
"We think there is a significant need to provide access of quality education to soldiers and their families," Roberts said. "For us, it is a win-win."
Once the college is satisfied with the lease and the agreement becomes official, the planning will begin.
The first step will be to hire a company to design the college.
The college has five campuses in the El Paso area.
"It will be much more than just a college," Roberts said. "It will be an education service center for the military. Though it will be built on military land, our campus will not be gated or have restricted access in any way."
The campus will have its own access from Loop 375 without an ID check or security gate. There also will be access from Fort Bliss, Roberts said.
EPCC's Northwest and Mission del Paso branches — both built in the late 1990s — were the most recent campuses added to the system, college officials said.
The enrollment of EPCC is estimated at 30,000, but it varies from the spring semester to the fall.
Roberts said EPCC has had a connection with Fort Bliss since its beginning.
"When the college first began its operations, it was on Fort Bliss out of a building in Logan Heights," Roberts said. "It is sort of a return to our roots for El Paso Community College."