San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas
Email Email | Print Print --

The largest single project underway now is the new Performing Arts Center on University Drive. TEXAS STATE PHOTO

by ANDY SEVILLA

As Texas State University continues setting enrollment records and is quickly exceeding projected population numbers, it’s undertaking a massive construction program totaling more than $600 million.

Texas State presently has at least 25 construction projects in various stages of development, according to Texas State’s Office of Facilities Planning, Design, and Construction Project Status Report. The project status report was compiled in February and will be updated in May, just before the Texas State Board of Regents meeting scheduled that month, said Nancy Nusbaum, Associate Vice President for Finance and Support Services.

Texas State projects under construction now include (with budgeted cost):

  • Bobcat Stadium – North Side Complex, $33 million
  • Brogdon Hall Renovations, $7 million
  • Center for Research Commercialization, $6.95 million
  • Commons Dining Hall and Renovation, $7.2 million
  • Electrical Infrastructure Upgrades, $11.8 million
  • Housing and Residence Life Office Building, $2.1 million
  • Lampasas Hall Renovation, $3.3 million
  • North Campus Housing Complex, $46.1 million
  • Performing Arts Complex, $83.2 million
  • Round Rock Higher Education Center #2 – Nursing Building, $36 million
  • South Campus Utility Upgrades, $6 million
  • Tomas Rivera Drive Relocation and Student Center Drive Realignment, $8.7 million and
  • Undergraduate Academic Center, $47.7 million

Projects being designed include:

  • Bobcat Trail Mall Redevelopment, $5.48 million and
  • West Campus Residence Life Housing, $56.1 million

Projects in various stages of planning include:

  • Alkek Library Learning Commons, $2.5 million,
  • Alumni Visitors Center – Phase One, $4.9 million,
  • Engineering and Science Building, $82.3 million,
  • Music Building, $56.7 million,
  • Psychology Renovation, $8.59 million
  • River Center Education and Research Facility, $7 million
  • Round Rock Higher Education Center #3 – Health Professions 1, $48.8 million
  • Round Rock Higher Education Center #4 – Health Professions 2, $31.9 million, and
  • Utility Upgrades Bobcat Trail, $3.5 million

“All of this construction is definitely a sign that we are growing and that we’re trying to improve the conditions of facilities for our students, faculty, and staff,” Nusbaum said, although she cautioned that future expansion beyond what is in the master plan may be difficult as the university’s financial resources are dwindling.

Projects under construction now total just under $300 million. Those are in addition to $150 million in projects completed in recent years including a new Student Recreation Center and two parking garages.

The most expensive of these is the Performing Arts Complex (PAC) totaling $83,243,646, according to the report. The center consists of four major components: a recital hall and theatre, a parking garage, a south chill plant, and street and ground improvements. The Recital Hall will accommodate 300 seats and the Theatre will have 400 seats. The parking garage, which will be erected on University Drive, will have a capacity for 455 cars.

Texas State’s Master Plan calls for projects totaling $739,665,178, and are to be paid for through a variety of funding mechanisms including legislative appropriations, tuition revenue bonds and donations.

Nusbaum said the Undergraduate Academic Center and the Nursing Building in Round Rock are being built with State Tuition Revenue Bonds, but, she said, Texas State has not received any more them for four years now and is uncertain if they’ll receive any in the future.

Texas State’s fall 2011 enrollment was 34,113, and Mark Heintze, the university’s associate vice president for enrollment management said he expects total enrollment to increase by two to three percent. Enrollment estimates for the fall 2012 carry numbers as high as 35,137, which puts Texas State close to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board’s institutional target of 35,516, which it wanted by the fall 2015.

Texas colleges and universities have for more than decade rushed to increase their enrollment capacity under the coordinating board’s Closing the Gap initiative. The program, and its enrollment targets, were drafted to address a thriving, younger population and reverse relatively low enrollment and graduation rates, especially among blacks and Latinos.

Texas State gained official recognition as a Hispanic Serving Institution (HSI) by the US Department of Education after the university surpassed the 25 percent Hispanic undergraduate enrollment level in September 2010. In order to attain an HSI designation, which opens the door for more federal money, an institution must have an enrollment of undergraduate full-time students that is at least 25 percent Hispanic.

In January Texas State was classified as an Emerging Research University by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, upgrading it from its former classification of a Doctoral University. The Coordinating Board defines Emerging Research Universities as those that offer at least 10 doctoral programs and/or enroll at least 150 doctoral students, award at least 20 doctoral degrees per year, offer a wide range of baccalaureate and master’s degree programs, and have annual research expenditures of at least $14 million.

According to the university, Texas State presently enrolls more than 400 doctoral students and spent more than $33 million in total research expenditures for fiscal year 2011.

Email Email | Print Print

--

7 thoughts on “Texas State construction totals more than half-billion dollars

  1. Very impressive. Better facilities. Better academics. Better reputation. Better athletics (hopefully).

    The city could definitely take some pointers re: developing a comprehensive plan for meaningful growth/improvement, and then sticking with the plan. I am constantly amazed by the improvements at Texas State over the past 20 years.

    It would be great to see more collaboration between the city and the unversity. If the two worked together, the sky really would be the limit.

  2. The university could have saved tens of millions of dollars by not building those two parking garages and instead encourage students (and faculty & staff) to ride a bicycle or walk to campus.

  3. What, roughly 50% live here? The rest drive (mostly, I think) or bus into our fair burg?

    What makes me most curious is that while our state schools – at least the ones I have seen with my own eyes, namely TSU, UT-Austin, UTSA – caterwaul about funding difficulties while they raise fees and tuition, there never seems to be any issue raising $$$ for seemingly never-ending building projects or sports expenditures…the rhetoric as they raise prices on the students has always struck me as odd in the face of the obvious big money expenditures…

  4. Travis: there were plenty of parking spaces for out-of-town/out-of-biking-distance commuters already (Bobcat Stadium and Strahan Col.) before the university jacked up parking permit fees in order to build two new parking garages.

  5. The parking garages don’t add any parking spaces. Whether they represent money well spent is another matter, but for every garage space added, a surface lot space is removed, and most of those are being converted to green space, which will be very nice.

  6. Ted is correct. The master plan for the university is to remove surface parking and replace, on a 1:1 ratio (with projections for growth), with garage parking. Surface parking has a high impervious cover per parking space ratio which creates run-off; and uses a lot of land for a land-locked university. Go ahead and check out the University Master Plan for more information:

    http://www.fss.txstate.edu/cmp-update/

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

:)