Guest Column – Why does Lockhart need a Junior College?
BY Richard Banks
Lockhart City Council
Young people are now leaving Lockhart to get an education, or staying and not getting one. When economic times are bad, as they are now, and good people are laid off from their jobs, workers of all ages need more education so that they can upgrade to their next job opportunity.
A junior college woul
d invigorate and renew our community and economy in every way imaginable. A junior college would act as a magnet, pulling young people into Lockhart and Caldwell County and young people are the most valuable asset a community can have. Imagine young people attending classes in a historic building somewhere around our downtown square learning English, Spanish, History, Computer Science, Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Art, Music, Green energy training, automotive repair, carpentry and much more. Imagine these students around the square, dropping into shops to buy meals, books, clothes and knickknacks at local businesses.
Imagine the young people moving to Lockhart, opening bank accounts, taking their clothes to the cleaners, going to the grocery store, buying insurance, going to the movies, eating BBQ and Mexican food in our restaurants. Imagine these young people renting apartments, townhouses, condos and houses all over Lockhart or occupying the upper stories around the square.
A more educated workforce would help draw new businesses to our area. Our young people would not have to leave Lockhart to find jobs. Our average age would be lowered and our average educational level would rise. Our economy would thrive. Our businesses would boom. Our tax base would increase making our individual tax bills lower. Shops and cafes around the square would be open during the evenings and on weekends, maximizing profits. Things would be humming around the Clark Library, the Baker-Gaslight Theatre, and all of downtown Lockhart.
Obtaining an associate degree for completing the first two years of college is a huge accomplishment for anyone, especially for someone who never had the chance before. Local civic groups could focus on providing scholarships to those who want to go to a junior college in Lockhart but just don’t have the resources. Education is the key to unlocking the door to opportunity for Lockhart and Caldwell County. With the approval of the community, the City of Lockhart, Caldwell County, and the Lockhart Independent School District should work together to make Lockhart a college town.
It is in our best interest.