Semester ends, construction begins
COMMERCE - As the window of opportunity for construction at Texas A&M University-Commerce opened, crews were quick to begin their reconstruction of the campus landscape.
No more than a week after the spring semester ends have sections of campus started to look unfamiliar with the preparation of a new residence hall, entry signage and installation of a new parking lot.
Executive Director of Facilities David McKenna says they don’t have any time to waste.
“We want to get it done before the fall student population comes back so we’ll have some changes implemented,” McKenna said. “It’s a little lighter in the summer, certainly, but you do have camps and still a good group of students on campus but it gives us a little more opportunity to get some work done.”
The biggest transformation is the demolition of five dormitories and a central utility plant on the southwest corner of campus that will clear the way for a new residence hall. The same process was undertaken two years ago and created Pride Rock, the 250 bed facility which houses freshmen students.
This new facility, estimated at $26 million, will be more than double the size at 542 beds and is scheduled for completion in summer 2013.
The entry sign at University Drive that reads Texas A&M University-Commerce is no more. McKenna says they’re instituting a campus-wide signage package.
“A couple of the first elements are to redo the main entry signage package there. So that will be a lueders limestone sitting out there. It will be a broad panel, 34.5 feet long by 7.5 feet tall.”
According to McKenna, the previous signs had been there since the mid 1960s.
Crews are also in the final stages of finishing a new parking lot just north of the Field House and east of Memorial Stadium. It includes 69 spaces, four of those handicapped spots, plus a sidewalk. Additionally, more parking is being added and sidewalks expanded in that area of campus.
Projects not currently underway but planned this summer include an amphitheatre in the “bowl area” just north of the Business Administration Building.
McKenna added, “We’re going to be redoing University Drive with new pavement. We’re going to tear that out. And also extend the walking mall to that fence area just outside the Industrial Engineering/Agricultural Sciences Building.”
The Texas A&M University-Commerce campus has undergone a major transformation over the past several years through the demolition of dozens of buildings and construction of several more with new structures to better fit the needs of students, faculty and staff.
Not only is the campus undergoing changes, so is the adjacent landscape. A new apartment along Bryan Street, just one block south of campus, is coming along quickly and new businesses such as Pride Coffee recently opened along Lee Street.