The first step to offer additional education in the area came last year when Drury University announced it would begin offering classes at a Spruce Street building The structure was purchased earlier this year by the Industrial Development Authority of the City of Houston. Work is underway to develop a technical school. 

The Industrial Development Authority of the City of Houston asked the Houston City Council Monday to give its financial support to the creation of a technical school project slated for a Spruce Street building.

Brad Rees, a member of the authority, requested the council aid in the creation of the Piney River Technical School that will be housed in a manufacturing building that was recently acquired from the Houston Development Co. as it winds down its leadership in job recruitment to have a more focused effort by the Industrial Development Authority (IDA) that was created in 1980 by the city. The IDA’s tax status also allows it to capture grants and other awards.

A top priority is the school, which is working in cooperation with several local entities, including Texas County Memorial Hospital, the Houston School District and Mineral Area College, Parks Hills. The same building already houses Drury University, which has a nursing program in partnership with Cox College.

Rees said he was asking the council to reconsider an earlier decision. It was the first time the matter had been brought in a public meeting. Public bodies are allowed only to discuss personnel, litigation and property acquisition in closed sessions.

Rees urged the council to use funds it holds — Urban Development Action Grant (UDAG) — that traditionally been used for job creation projects. At the end of the year, the funds — $167,440  — were transferred to the city’s general revenue fund.

“Potentially this could be the biggest thing ever to happen to Houston,’’ said Rees. “All of the pieces are in place to make this a really good thing for our community.”

Rees said the goal is to provide training for students to learn a trade and easily find jobs.

“Our kids leave to get an education, and they never come back,” he said. “We have a chance to keep them here and give them an education and teach them a trade… and stay in our town and be productive.”

In an unrelated matter, another member of the IDA, Carl Honeycutt, asked the board to consider what incentives the council would offer for jobs created by industry prospects.  It would assist Rob Harrington, economic development director, in his work, he said.

Leave a comment

Leave a Reply