AC’s economic impact

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SHERMAN, Tex. -- Austin College officials announced plans for future expansion in Thursday’s annual State of the College Address.

School president Oscar Paige says Austin College is better than ever. The college has completed several campus beautification projects in the last year, but the success isn't just good news for the college and its students; it's also good news for the entire city of Sherman.

It’s a speech Austin College president Dr. Oscar Paige gives every year to inform the college's faculty, alumni, and friends on its progress.

This year, Dr. Paige has some great news.

"It’s about $2 million more in investment to the community this year, and about $20 million more over the previous year, as far as the total economic impact."

Dr. Paige says an economic impact study done earlier this year shows Austin College has had a $181 million impact on the Sherman and Grayson County community over the past year.

That includes the creation of 3,200 new jobs to accommodate both students and their parents.

"We have just benefited in multiple ways and every business in this community needs to be connected to this college,” says Texoma Council of Governments executive director Frances Pelley.

Pelley says new projects like the Art Center on the north end of campus, and the proposed science building, which is set to be built in the next couple of years, will only add to the success of the college and the community.

That’s why Pelley says its time for the community to give back.

"You can name that scholarship in honor of a family member, and you can pick which benefit you wan the scholarship to benefit, whether its athletic, academic, art, or music."

On Thursday, officials kicked off the Texoma Campaign, an effort to encourage community members to sponsor scholarships for Austin College students.

Officials say it's a way to improve the community and see a true reward.

"The students themselves go out and change the world, but the college itself has a huge economic impact on this community."

No word yet on when construction of the new science building will begin, but school officials say once the project is started it should take a couple of years to complete.

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