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University announces approval of 2 new buildings
February 15, 2012

University announces approval of 2 new buildings

Correction: Kenneth Mitts is not the director of finance and administration. He is the vice president of finance and administration.

Texas A&M System Board of Regents approve funding for Central Academic Building and Patriot’s Casa.

The Texas A&M System Board of Regents approved two new buildings for A&M-San Antonio during a board meeting Feb. 9 at Texas A&M-Corpus Christi — Central Academic Building and the Patriot’s Casa, a stand-alone building dedicated to serving the University’s military student community.

Local architecture firm Kell Munoz was chosen to design both buildings. Bartlett Cocke General Contractors was selected as Construction Management-at-Risk, the company that handles and manages the building and construction from start to finish, said Communications Specialist Jill Reddish.

Marshal Lasswell, director of facilities and physical plant, said the buildings will be paid for with $75 million from the permanent university fund, which is part of the A&M-System fiscal year 2012-16 System Capital Plan.

Kenneth Mitts, director of finance and administration, said the University requested funds from the Legislature, but had to seek funding from another source. He said the A&M-System provided the funds based on University growth and need.

Main Campus Building, the University’s first building — completed in 2011 — was funded by the Texas Legislature with a $40 million tuition revenue bond.

“It’s important and exciting that the system gave us that money,” Mitts said.

Construction is expected to begin later this year and the buildings will open for classes within 18-24 months after breaking ground.

Lasswell said they haven’t finalized the plans and are expected to have a final draft by March 1.

University administrators and program coordinators met with a facility programming and consultant company to compile a programming document that lists space and facility needs.

Mitts said the programming document includes how many classrooms and offices are needed as well as a plan for space usage.

He added that the School of Business and kinesiology program are staying at Brooks Campus. Ferrier’s goal is to get everyone on one campus, but Mitts said not everyone can fit in Main Campus and the two new buildings. He also said Dr. Tracy Hurley, head of the School of Business, elected to stay at Brooks Campus.

A media release circulated by University Communications Feb. 15 includes information about the new buildings’ size and usage.

The Central Academic Building, at 170,750 gross square feet, will include classrooms, lecture halls and an auditorium “with a focus on encouraging student interaction.”

There will be space for student services, student lounge areas and an Opportunity Mall/Hall for events and club activities. The plans also include a cyber student café and food court with wireless Internet.

President Maria Hernandez Ferrier said in the release that, “We are excited to provide a place for learning and engagement that will continue to reflect the culture, diversity and historic architecture of San Antonio in these new, iconic facilities.”

Patriot’s Casa will make use of 20,000 gross square feet to serve the 11 percent military student population.

The release states that “It will be the first of its kind in the country as a stand-alone building designed to provide a space to guide veterans and their families through the transition from military life to higher education and into the civilian workforce ready to begin new careers.”

Shawna Mount contributed to this report.

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