by Brad Rollins
In the first spate of campus construction as part of a sweeping master plan approved a year ago, Texas State University regents approved preliminary plans for six projects last week and initiated two others.
Meeting on campus for two days, system regents authorized final construction plans including a massive new student recreation center, three parking garages and converting Concho Street into a grassy mall stretching most of three city blocks.
“This is really the first wave of projects in the new campus master plan approved last May. Most of these architects were hired in August and have been working for nine months to get to this point. Within six months, we see buildings coming out of the ground,” said Bill Nance, the university's vice president for finance and support services.
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 in 2008.
Other projects that won preliminary approval include:
€ Concho Street redevelopment. Plans call for replacing the street with a landscaped mall from Moon Street to LBJ Street, stretching from the Theatre Center toward the historic building on Guadalupe Street that is currently the admissions center.
The $3 million project, designed by TBG Partners of Austin, is projected for a May 2008 completion.
€ Speck Street parking garage. Designed by Carl Walker Parking Consultants of Frisco, the project would add a 721-space garage. The $10.4 million project is expected to be completed 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.
“Parking is a frustration for any student,” said Associated Student Government President Kyle Morris. “...We need more parking spaces but we also need to move away from parking lots and move toward parking garages to open up green space and room for new buildings.”
€ 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.
€ 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.
In addition, regents voted to hire Garza/Bomberger and Associates to prepare preliminary plans for the Commons Complex renovation. It is estimated to cost $8.3 million.
Regents also voted to hire 3D-I of Austin to prepare preliminary plans for renovation of the Trinity Building. When complete, the building will house Student Publications, Risk Management and Safety and curation space for the Center for Archaeological Studies.
Also last week, legislators authorized the university to sell $78.7 million in tuition revenue bonds to pay for a 185,000 square foot general academic building and a second building at the Round Rock satellite.