South Plains College dedicates, renames new science center

LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) – The Wilburn and Helen Wheeler Science Center finally opened on Friday, after three years.

The building is newly renovated and expanded by 30,000 square feet. It will serve over 4,000 South Plains students.

President of South Plains College, Robin Satterwhite, said this center is going to change the way students learn at SPC.

“It’s turned into a very dynamic, contemporary, inviting, learning environment that we think is going to change the way our students learn here at South Plains College, particularly with their sciences,” Satterwhite said.

The funds for this renovation were provided by The Helen Jones Foundation Inc., The Montgomery Family Foundation, and The William R. and Sandra L. Wheeler Charitable Foundation. SPC says this project would not have been possible without these donors.

William Wheeler donated millions to the school because he believes SPC has something the big universities don’t.

“The secret is, there’s professional teachers at the two-year colleges, if people want to teach the subject matter that they’re teaching, they don’t have to bring in money to the college,” Wheeler said.

Wheeler attended Texas A&M after South Plains College.

“And I was really worried that by going to school at South Plains College, I was going to be behind academically with these kids that have gone to Texas A&M,” Wheeler said, “and I found out I was head and shoulders better prepared than they were.”

The science center is named after Wheeler’s parents. His father was a math teacher at SPC.

“Had this college not hired my dad, I don’t know what we would have done. He was forced to change his jobs because of health reasons,” Wheeler said, “And they gave him a job here, even in spite of that.”

Wheeler said he is thankful his father made him go to South Plains College. He counts himself as one of the many successful people the school has produced.

“One of the guys who went to college here retired as executive vice president of Lockheed Martin, another one retired as an executive of BP Oil,” Wheeler said.

Wheeler believes the secret to success comes from hard work and education, no matter what school you start at.

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