Kingsville skyline would change dramatically as TAMUK master plan is fully implemented
May 16, 2010

Kingsville Record and Bishop News

By Gloria Bigger-Cantu

May 16, 2010


Three construction projects are anticipated to become a reality within the next two years on the Texas A&M University-Kingsville campus. The first one visible on campus this summer will be a student union plaza where a pavilion will be built. A new dining room should be completed by the 2011 spring semester and a new dorm completed by the 2011 fall. More landscaping with plenty of trees and greenery will continue with the beautification projects.


These construction projects and several other facility goals were discussed at the completed Campus Master Plan for Texas A&M University Kingsville. Broaddus & Associates consultants discussed the overview of the plan and process with a 10 year implementation goal along with future facility needs and other campus issues at TAMUK May 6 at the Biology Earth Sciences Building with numerous faculty and community residents listening to the presenters.


Students will see a student union plaza, mall this summer. Construction begins next month and completed this summer. A 40-foot gazebo in diameter will center the area located north of the Student Union Building. New brick inlays will replace the concrete in that area along with new landscaping. The new food service company Aramark, will have a full service operations of Starbucks, Chik Fila, Subway, Pizza Hut at the Student Union at the end of this month.


Next week construction will begin on a dining room with 287 seating capacity plus other seating available on the terraces that includes an upstairs banquet room with 96 seats and will be located near the University Village Residential building. The $7.5 million dining room is anticipated to be completed by spring 2011.


Construction for a new dorm north of University Village begins this August and will accommodate 300 students. The new residential facility mirrors the present building style of University Village and will also include an outdoor pavilion, swimming pool and game room with an $18 million cost. This building has been anticipated to open by the fall of 2011. These are the new projects that will be ready for students within the next two years according to the completed TAMUK Campus Master Plan presented. Most of the information was so massive during the two-hour presentation that the majority of people wanted to know what progress could be seen on the campus within the next two years.


Stephen B. Coulston, president of the Broaddus & Associates based in Austin, told the audience their firm had been working on this plan almost 18 months meeting with numerous TAMUK members and Kingsville community leaders to address the campus issues.


"This plan is change with a purpose," he said. "The plan deals with infrastructure, bricks and mortar within the next 10 years."


Coulston and the consultants spoke on the historical development, campus image identity, student centered space, community engagement and embracing the cultural heritage environment. He and the other consultants discussed some of issues of the campus such as the fact that 46 of the 74 buildings had one story and was not the best use of the land. Coulston cited the campus had little growth in past years with only two baseball fields built at TAMUK. However, last year a residential housing facility opened and this spring a Student Recreation Center opened.


"We are very excited to see how we see the future," said Dr. Steven Tallant, TAMUK president. He said they have been listening to TAMUK staff, the mayor, city officials, and others for input.


"We need to think about students 20 years from now and what degrees should be offering and what skills and talents they need," Tallant said. "We need to always be looking forward."


Tallant said that parking is a problem and they are working on solutions. He cited the increase of student enrollment and the fact the new dorm, University Village, was full with 600 students living there currently.


Next summer Tallant wants to implement a one-stop one shop where students go to the Registrar's Financial Office, and Admissions Office, the Bookstore, under one roof instead of walking all over campus for these services.


Other long-range goals include approving the expansion of the music department, and rethinking the location of the athletic departments. The Master Plan calls for TAMUK to grow from 1.4 million square feet to 4.7 million square feet and 2.3 million square feet of buildings within the next 10 to 30 years, according to the Master Plan. TAMUK has a budget of $114 million annually and debt service of $7 million, according to Dr. Marilyn M. Fowle, TAMUK Vice President for Finance and Administration.


Each facility has its own source of funding that has been devised and pulled together. Student housing is paid for from the students living in the facility. New academic buildings usually come from the state, but can be combined with gift funds, according to Fowle.


TAMUK has an enrollment of 6,200 students mostly from South Texas. There is also a diversity of student population with students from 35 states, and more than 43 countries. TAMUK, a historical university, was chartered in 1917 and opened in 1925 as South Texas State Teachers College.


The name changed to College Arts and Industries in 1929 and later to Texas A&I University in 1967. The university became a member of the Texas A&M University System in 1989 and in 1993 changed its name Texas A&M University- Kingsville to reflect that membership.