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Construction projects have been flustered by some rainy weather but progress continues on the largest building program in Texas State University history. NEWSTREAMZ PHOTO by MARK DECKER

By BRAD ROLLINS and AMANDA OSKEY

In the middle of the largest construction program in the institution’s history, Texas State University is experiencing growing pains as it implements the first wave of projects from a sweeping master plan adopted in 2006.

Projects under construction include a huge new student recreation center, a 721-car parking garage on Speck Street, the Harris utility plan improvements and converting what is now Concho Street into a grassy mall stretching from the Theatre Center to the historic old house used as the admissions center. A 100,000 square-foot general academic building, another parking garage on Matthews Street and redevelopment of Thomas Rivera Street are either being designed or about architecture and engineering is about to begin.

“With our growth and our space needs, I think there’s always been a construction crane somewhere on campus in the 17 years I’ve been here,” said Bill Nance, the university’s finance and support services vice president. “But I’m confident that between projects under construction and projects in design, this is the largest building program in the university’s history in terms of the number of projects and the dollar amount.

No fewer than three construction cranes tower over the campus skyline and construction zones have shut streets and closed parking lots.

“I hear a lot of complaints about the commuter lots being changed to red-redistricted,” said Emily Trepanier, a physical education and health junior said. In one case, a commuter lot near San Saba Halls is opened but the university’s bus system no longer stops there, Trepanier said.

“Now there is no way to get over there,” Trepanier said.

Student complaints have led the Associated Student Government to set up a task force to look at ways to ease problems associated with construction. “We really want follow up with complaints and make sure everything is operating efficiently” for students, said Alexis Dabney, the Associated Student Government vice president.

Nance said, “It’s obviously very frustrating for students and we had some hiccups when students came back from the Christmas holidays. People are learning new ways to manuever around campus and the different construction areas.”

The largest of the pending projects, the $25.2 million recreation center expansion and renovation, will include a natatorium, rock climbing facility, multi-purpose and weight rooms, offices and four basketball courts. The expansion will add 94,419 square feet to the center and renovate 13,565 square feet of the existing center.

Two years ago, students consented to doubling the $47 per semester recreation fee to pay for the building. The building is expected to be completed this year.

Other projects in the works include:

• Pleasant Street parking garage. The project adds three levels and 365 parking spaces to an existing garage and adds a bus loop and sidewalks. The $10.3 million project is scheduled for completion in March 2008. The master plan calls for building as many as six parking garages in the next decade and reducing surface parking, which currently covers 85 acres of the campus.

• Jowers Center renovation. The $1.5 million project includes upgrades and refurbishment to Jowers Center for the Department of Health, Physical Education and Recreation. Completion is projected for May 2008.

• Utility system upgrades. The $16.8 million project includes expansion of the university’s co-generation plant, as well as upgrades to the Harris Plant. Total project cost is estimated at $16.8 million.

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5 thoughts on “Largest campus construction program in Texas State history gets underway

  1. In all of the building and all of the long range plans at Texas State – Where are the dorms?

  2. There is a new 6-story dormitory being planned for the parking lot in front of college Inn. It is scheduled for completion in 2010. Additinally, Sterry, Falls, and Lantana will be torn down. Two 5-story dorms will take their place.

  3. To clarify, “where is the parking” as it relates to the large number of students who will still have to scramble for parking. Enrollment is up but I have the impression that parking has been “behind” for a long time and that student parking is actually going to get worse (based on information and comments I have seen here on Newstreamz during this year).

  4. According to the last information that the university gave to the Transportation Advisory Board, there will be no net gain or net loss in parking spaces with these garages.

    This will, however, consolidate parking in a couple of locations along a very congested roadway. I expect this to make things worse for the students, as well as for the non-students who drive that roadway.

    Increased enrollment will also exacerbate the issue to some degree.

    At a minimum, Sessom and Academy ought to have a center turn lane and the stop sign at Comanche needs to go away. The light at Thomas Rivera is supposed to be moved to Comanche, replacing the stop sign. This will help with traffic flow, to a degree.

    Another improvement, would be to change the intersection of Academy and Holland to a sweeping turn, similar to the one in front of the rec center (where Sessom meets Academy). Add a sweeping right from Holland to RR12, and we could have traffic flowing substantially better and far fewer people cutting through neighborhoods.

    Yet another option is to provide the students with a better option downtown. If parking is a pain in the ass on campus and we can make it easier downtown (again, does not need to be free, but it might be), we have a great opportunity to give the downtown revitalization a real kick.

    Of course, there are traffic issues downtown, but Aquarena Springs and University is a better drive than Aquarena Springs and Sessom.

    If University connected to Burleson and out to RR12 and if there were parking along University, you’d have a great shot at getting a lot of people walking around downtown and you could turn the student parking problem into a win for the city, a win for the students and a win for downtown businesses.

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