The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents Approve Campus Construction Projects
COLLEGE STATION, TX The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents on Wednesday approved 11 construction projects that will improve student, faculty, and staff experiences throughout the System. The Board also authorized the appropriate university presidents to negotiate and execute ground leases for privatized student housing on Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi's Momentum Campus and on the campus of Texas A&M University-San Antonio.
In addition to new athletic facilities at Texas A&M University and Texas A&M University-Kingsville, the construction projects approved by the Board include a new Agricultural Science Complex at West Texas A&M University, an expansion of the Engineering Education Complex at Texas A&M University, the Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station's Center for Infrastructure Renewal and others.
West Texas A&M University's Department of Agricultural Sciences has doubled its enrollment over the last decade. Classes for students are currently spread over several locations, including the Nance Ranch, which is about 15 miles away from campus. The new Agricultural Science Complex, which has a $48.1 million budget, will consolidate the department's offerings in state-of-the-art facilities that include lecture halls, research labs, and a new multipurpose arena. It will also include space a new Meats Lab that is expected to become the premier facility of its kind in the Texas Panhandle and the state.
The $168.9 million budget initially approved for the Engineering Education Complex at Texas A&M University assumed that several areas of the building would be shelled for future completion. However, with the approval to adjust the budget to about $225 million, nearly the entire building is expected to be ready to use when the building opens. This includes public gathering space, a food service area and additional education space that would not have been available otherwise.
Other projects approved for Texas A&M University include renovations to the Chemistry building that will provide much needed updated, modern facilities for faculty and students. Additionally, the Board approved the construction of an outdoor teaching facility that will be known as The Gardens at Texas A&M University and will include gardens, a riparian greenway, and amenities to support educational activities for college and K-12 students.
The Center for Infrastructure Renewal, which has a $73 million budget, will be a one-of-a-kind research facility where multidisciplinary teams from TEES, the Texas A&M Transportation Institute, and the Texas A&M University College of Engineering tackle the nation's infrastructure problems. Their research efforts on issues relating to improved safety, security, efficiency, performance, longevity, hazard resiliency and sustainability will lead to significant quality of life improvements for Texans, as well as the rest of the nation.
Tarleton State University also received approval to begin utility and infrastructure improvements, including creating better pedestrian walkways, adding bicycle paths, and moving power lines underground to avoid electrical outages. Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi was granted approval for an energy consumption reduction project that is expected to generate enough savings for it to ultimately be budget neutral.
The Board granted Texas A&M-Corpus Christi President Flavius Killebrew the authority to negotiate and execute a ground lease contract for privatized student housing on the school's Momentum Campus that is expected to add a total of 560 new student beds on about 9.5 acres. The university has experienced an overall campus enrollment increase of 21 percent over the past 5 years, as well as a 19 percent growth in freshmen and sophomores since fall 2011, and current trends indicate that growth will continue.
Texas A&M University-San Antonio President Cynthia Teniente-Matson also received authority to negotiate and execute a ground lease for privatized student housing that will ultimately house the university's first residential student population. Texas A&M-San Antonio has grown from about 2,200 students to about 4,500 students over the last seven years as an upper-division institution, and it is currently in the process of becoming a comprehensive four-year university. The school has received over 4,000 applications for its inaugural freshman class, which is expected to be about 450 students strong. This housing project is expected to provide beds for about 350 students.