FORT WORTH, Texas — The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents on Thursday gave initial approval to $1.5 billion in future projects, including the first two buildings for an urban research campus in downtown Fort Worth.
Meeting in Fort Worth for the special occasion, the Regents approved a new five-year Capital Plan, including $85 million for a Law and Education Building and another $85 million for a Research and Innovation Center in Fort Worth. The campus will be built on several blocks adjacent to the existing Texas A&M University’s School of Law building, which is also scheduled to be replaced in 2024.
The cost of the Law and Education Building, which is scheduled for 2023 construction, will be paid with proceeds from the Public University Fund. The Research and Innovation Center is scheduled to be built in 2024.
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Texas A&M System officials briefed the Board on the Fort Worth project in front of an audience of dignitaries and reporters. The urban campus was announced in November, but including the buildings in the Capital Plan is the first step toward final Board approval and construction.
“This past decade has seen a historic construction boom for the A&M System around the state,” said Chancellor John Sharp. “But expansion into the nation’s fastest-growing large city is a game-changer for the A&M System, the city of Fort Worth and the whole Metroplex.”
Fort Worth government and business leaders invited the Texas A&M System to create a research campus to spur innovation and business development. Working with Fort Worth leaders, the A&M System has identified programs in emergency response communication, medical technologies, advanced manufacturing, nutrition, biotechnology, medical laboratory science and nursing as areas of interest.
Thursday’s vote comes just days after Texas A&M University’s College of Engineering announced its intention to offer the first two years of engineering courses at Tarrant College. Students at the Engineering Academy would be co-enrolled in Tarrant County College and Texas A&M. They would take basic courses from Tarrant College faculty while A&M professors would teach the engineering courses. The students then would transfer to the College Station campus to complete their bachelor’s degree.
The Fort Worth project is part of a 5-year, $4.2 billion Capital Plan that includes $2.7 billion of projects that already are in design or construction, plus the $1.5 billion of newly proposed projects.
Other new proposed projects at Texas A&M University include:• An $118 million addition to the Clinical Veterinary Teaching & Research Complex, including almost $70 million from PUF proceeds;• $175 million for a Visualization, Fine and Performing Arts Building;• $40 million for Phase II of The Gardens at Texas A&M University;• $75 million for an Aggie Band Residence Hall;• $100 million Museum of Natural History.
Other significant proposed projects include:• $370 million for new Austin headquarters and State Emergency Operations Center for the Texas Division of Emergency Management;• $110 million Convocation Center at Tarleton State University;• $58 million for a new event center at A&M-Commerce;• $20 million for an addition to the Nursing Education & Research Center in McAllen;• $15 million to finish out the EnMed Discovery Tower Labs & Offices in Houston;• $11.5 million for a Sea Turtle Rehabilitation Hospital in Galveston;• $20 million for an addition to the Arts and Media Building at A&M-Corpus Christi;• $10.8 million to expand the Western Hemisphere Trade Center at A&M-International in Laredo;• $9.4 million for addition to Fine and Performing Arts at A&M-International;• $10 million for a research annex at A&M-Central Texas, including $5 million from PUF proceeds.• $35 million for Phase III of students housing at A&M-San Antonio;• $30 million for the Amarillo Research Extension Center at Canyon, including $20 million from PUF proceeds.
In other business, the Board of Regens approved an operating budget of $7.2 billion, $2.4 billion less than the current operating budget because of a decrease in COVID-19 federal dollars flowing through Texas Division of Emergency Management to other Texas entities.
The Board also authorized Texas A&M University President M. Katherine Banks to negotiate and execute a ground lease for construction of up to two research and educational buildings on the new TMC3 campus in Houston.
In 2020, the Texas A&M Health Science Center, the Texas Medical Center, the University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston and the MD Anderson Cancer Center agreed to construct a Collaborative Research Building to anchor the new biomedical research campus. That building is under construction.
About The Texas A&M University SystemThe Texas A&M University System is one of the largest systems of higher education in the nation, with a budget of $7.3 billion. Through a statewide network of 11 universities, a comprehensive health science center, eight state agencies, and the RELLIS Campus, the Texas A&M System educates more than 152,000 students and makes more than 24 million additional educational contacts through service and outreach programs each year. System-wide, research and development expenditures exceed $1 billion and help drive the state’s economy.
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Texas A&M University and Tarrant County College have launched the Texas A&M Engineering Academy at Tarrant County College and will enroll the first cohort of students in fall 2022. The program will accept applications for the fall through July 31.
The innovative co-enrollment partnership was developed to address the state’s growing need for engineers. Qualified students will be admitted to the Texas A&M College of Engineering, complete the first two years of coursework at Tarrant County College and finish their engineering degrees in College Station, Texas.
“We are pleased to offer students in Fort Worth a unique pathway toward a first-rate degree from an engineering college ranked among the top 10 in the world,” said Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp. “Our goal is to attract the very best students to Texas A&M Engineering, even if circumstances require them to stay close to home for the first part of their college career.”
The Texas A&M Engineering Academy at Tarrant County College allows students to pursue one of 22 majors within the College of Engineering at Texas A&M.
“The Engineering Academy program is the first engineering transition program of its kind in the country,” said Dr. John E. Hurtado, interim vice chancellor and dean of engineering at Texas A&M. “Students benefit by saving money while still receiving a world-class education that prepares them for a high-demand career. We welcome these students as proud Aggies from day one.”
By offering opportunities like the engineering academies, Texas A&M is able to better serve Texans. Students will save an estimated $4,200 in tuition and fees each semester they are enrolled in an Engineering Academy before transitioning to the Texas A&M campus.
“This partnership is an innovative solution to addressing the need for more high-quality engineers in Texas,” said Tarrant County College Acting Chancellor Elva LeBlanc. “Under this partnership, students in Tarrant County will have an affordable pathway to a four-year engineering degree at Texas A&M University. Tarrant County College is committed to providing pathways for students that help them to achieve their educational goals.”
In Texas, the projected need for engineers in the workforce is 51,000 by 2028. To meet this need, universities and two-year colleges must work together to bridge the gap and attract and retain students who are interested in STEM fields. Students in the Engineering Academy enroll in math, science and core curriculum courses through Tarrant County College and have the unique opportunity to enroll in engineering courses taught by Texas A&M faculty on the Tarrant County College campus.
This newest Engineering Academy in Tarrant County is part of a broader vision of the Texas A&M System’s Board of Regents and Chancellor John Sharp. System leaders have been working with North Texas elected officials to create “Aggieland North,” which will help strengthen the area’s employment base and bring a top-tier research university to the area.
The members of The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents are expected next week to take a major step in the creation of “Aggieland North.” At the upcoming board meeting, they will consider adding two facilities – the Texas A&M System Research and Innovation Center and Education Alliance Building – to the System’s Capital Plan.
Visit engineering.tamu.edu/academies for more information about how to apply and other details about the Engineering Academy.
Amy KlinkovskEngineering CommunicationsTexas A&M University979email@example.com
Dr. Reginald E. LewisDistrict Manager of CommunicationsCommunications, Public Relations and MarketingTarrant County College817firstname.lastname@example.org
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