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2010-09-29 / Education

Board of Regents approve advancing start date, pre-construction monies for third new residence hall

Texas A&M University-Kingsville given go ahead for 300-bed suite-style facility
By Julie Navejar Texas A&M-Kingsville

As recently as two weeks ago, some Texas A&M University-Kingsville students were living in local motels because there wasn’t enough room in the school’s residence halls to handle the demand for rooms. Part of that problem will be solved in fall 2011 when the second new residence hall in three years opens its doors as home to the university’s new Honors College.

The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents just gave approval for the third phase in residence hall expansion. Officials at Texas A&M-Kingsville received permission to move up the start date and revise the planning amount and appropriate monies for preconstruction services for a third new residence hall. Like the other two, this hall will have two- and fourbedroom suite-style rooms. This one will house 300 students and should be ready to open by August 2012.

The original plan had it opening one year later in August 2013.

“Because we had one of the largest increases in enrollment in the university’s history, the need for additional student housing is especially evident right now,” said Dr. Steven Tallant, university president. “We had students living in overflow spaces on campus and off campus in hotels. This third phase of our new student housing has to move forward as soon as possible.”

“We have had incredible growth at Texas A&MKingsville and it is our goal to create a robust, residential experience for our students,” said Dr. Terisa Remelius, vice president for student affairs. “The average public institution only houses about 10 percent of their students; however, it is our goal to house 40 percent. At this point we will need 2,640 beds to house 40 percent of our student body.

“Opening 300 beds in 2011 and 300 beds in 2012 will help us reach our goals, but we will need to add even more beds immediately because we anticipate our overall enrollment to increase exponentially because of new enrollment and increased retention,” she said.

There are no plans to tear down any of the older residence halls, but Remelius said a housing study is underway to provide information on infrastructure as well as remodeling options to modernize the older buildings and make them more attractive and comfortable for students.

Why are more students opting to live on campus? “We offer a good product at a fair price,” said Tom Martin, director of university housing and residence life.

The university was given $1.6 million for preconstruction costs for the building that is estimated to cost about $16 million. The new residence hall will be located at the intersection of Retama Drive and Avenue B across the street from University Village and adjacent to the second new hall currently under construction.

Prior to University Village opening its doors in fall 2009, the university had nearly 1,400 beds for students. The new residence hall added over 600 to that total so when students arrived in August, there were just over 2,000 beds available. However, housing requests were more than 2,200. The new Honor College Residence Hall currently under construction across the street from University Village will add another 300 beds to that total. It is due to be complete in July 2011.

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