Texas A&M University-Commerce officials Tuesday addressed faculty and staff on a number of items, notably facilities, during the latest Community Update.
Plans are in the works to add space where the university is housing its nursing program, which began this fall as a branch of the program at A&M-Corpus Christi.
And due to a faster-than-anticipated increase in enrollment, officials are looking into expand the Sam Rayburn Student Center to allow for more seating in the cafeteria.
Vice President for Business and Administration Bob Brown said, “We had envisioned about 1,000 to 1,100 students living on campus. We have roughly 50 percent more than that on campus now. And I understand in the spring we may be getting another 169 students which would increase the population on campus about another ten percent. ”
The expansion is scheduled for completion by fall 2013.
Brown also said that the old Music Building is ready to be demolished over the winter break. With the destruction of one building comes the creation of another. The university has announced plans to build another residence hall, to be constructed next to the newest dormitory at the intersection of Highway 50 and Loop 178, which came online this fall. However, this new, 543 bed facility will be twice as big. Completion is expected by the fall of 2013.
Brown also updated faculty and staff on the latest pertaining to this summer’s sale of land adjacent to Whitely Hall to be used for commercial development.
“We have been working with Armstrong Development Corporation. They have until November 30 to finalize that transaction. What they are trying to do with that site is to make it a multi-purpose retail and dining site,” Brown said.
Armstrong hopes to have a drug store as the primary tenant on the lot, plus a bank, a fast food restaurant, and perhaps a major gas station.
“The City of Commerce has been suffering through a lack of growth in its tax base because of the lack of businesses. This will turn this land in from tax exempt land – we own it – into taxable property for the city so they’ll have some revenue for the city. It’ll provide some additional services for staff and student and additional places for students to work. ”
A&M-Commerce has also been out for bid on a covered facility for their equine program valued at around $800,000. The project is currently waiting on some possible external funding. Additionally, more parking is planned across campus. According to Brown, the university plans to resurface the Science Building parking lot, add about 100 new parking spaces north of the Field House, plus new spaces near the new Nursing Facility.
On the enrollment front, Vice President for Student Access and Success Dr. Mary Hendrix stated that the official 20thday enrollment totaled 11,258 students, the most in the history of Texas A&M University-Commerce.
Also addressed during Tuesday’s University Community Update was SACS reaffirmation, a discussion of quality in higher education, an update on community partnerships, the latest information from the fundraising and academic fronts, and a special two-minute plug for The Global Imperative by Dr. Rusty Waller.