Texas A&M San Antonio’s five-year lease at Brooks City Base ends this month, centralizing all faculty, staff and students at Main Campus for the first time.
Faculty and staff housed at Brooks Campus, located at 2601 Louis Bauer Drive, are packing up and relocating to Main Campus over winter break. Personnel from the College of Business and the Department of Counseling, Health and Kinesiology and other departments will relocate to the university’s permanent campus nine miles away.
It’s another major transition for Texas A&M University-San Antonio as the new institution continues to grow on the South Side of San Antonio, guided by a masterplan that is also under revision. Some employees have moved multiple times during their employment and say they look forward to the move. For students, the move means direct access to student services, new buildings, and the advantages of having one campus.
The 77,648 square-foot building, rented from Brooks Development Authority, held 18 classrooms and 57 offices. This semester, 1,718 students attended class at the Brooks Campus. It held 18 classrooms and 57 offices, most of which were cubicle style and some without doors.
Rent for the first year cost the university $552,000. The price increased each subsequent year. The agreement also included $1,000 per week for use of the gymnasium on Brooks City Base Health and Wellness Center. The rent for the five year period equalled $3,796,480. This does not include maintenance costs such as housekeeping or garbage disposal.
In a letter to faculty and staff released December 1, Dr. Cynthia Teniente-Matson, A&M-San Antonio president, outlined the timeline for the pre-holiday transition to the Main Campus.
Important Move Dates:
Dec. 12: faculty and staff begin packing;
Dec. 17: third party movers and facility staff will relocate belongings;
Dec. 19: faculty and staff will have two days to unpack in their new locations at Main Campus.
Ready for the move?
Business staff who have been with the university for the last decade have moved throughout the South Side, as part of different lease agreements.
“I went from the portables at Palo Alto to Gillette to St. Joseph’s to (Brooks) and now to Main,” said Cynthia Lee, office manager for the College of Business. “It’s just a move, now we’re all just in one place.”
While she’s ready, the empty acreage around campus can’t compare to the density of retails and restaurants surrounding Brooks City Base.
“I’m going to miss being able to go out at lunch and be able to get back to work in time because everything around here is not even five minutes away,” Lee said.
For students required to attend both Main and Brooks campuses because of course availability, campus consolidation comes as a big relief.
If a student had to drive nine extra miles, four days a week, for sixteen weeks, it would add 576 miles to their regular semester; that’s about two full tanks of gas. On the other side of the spectrum, that’s about the same amount some students might spend less on gas.
“I’m actually excited for the business campus to be transferred to the main campus” said Sofia Medina, junior Communication major. “ I live 30 minutes away from here in Lytle, and for me it’s actually closer.”
This semester, Medina had classes at both campuses. Some days she would have to travel back and forth from Brooks to Main Campus.
“I have to waste gas coming all the way over here then I have another class over there then have time to drive all the way back,” Medina said. “I think it’s just easier for me to just stay in one campus.”
“I’m gonna miss the fact that the parking is so easy,” Lee said. “You park and go straight to your office, so that’s going to be another thing.”
With the influx of students, staff, and faculty from Brooks to the Main Campus, some are thinking about parking as a problem. The Brooks Campus offered approximately 800 parking spaces according the agreement with the BDA.
“I’m afraid how the parking will be once this campus moves over there,” Medina said .
“This campus makes me feel like I’m in high school because of all the lockers and the restrooms are not the great,” Medina said referring to the feel of the Brooks Campus.
“I’m sure that the students feel left out,” said Lee, citing the lack of events at Brooks. “So much was going on at Main and nothing would go on here, so that would make me angry at times.”
With the majority of students on the Main Campus, the majority of events took place there as well.
While staff and faculty from the university library, counseling and wellness, and other departments kept a presence at Brooks Campus, it felt to some that services were lackluster.
“I feel like we’ll be able to be involved actually in everything that we weren’t,” said Lee. “I feel like were forgotten about, nobody nobody ever knew we exist.”
“When I started here, there was only 12 full time employees, that was it,” said Lee. “You could imagine having 12 as opposed to having almost 200 now that I don’t really know anybody anymore. So now everybody will be able to put a face with a name.”
The Brooks Development Authority has prospects for the Brooks Campus but couldn’t release any names.
Connie Gonzalez, director of public relations for BDA, said the building is in good shape and isn’t opposed to future deals with Texas A&M University-San Antonio.