The Mesquite Online News - Texas A&M University-San Antonio

Central Academic and Patriots’ Casa groundbreaking Nov. 3

Construction workers preparing the site of the foundation of Central Academic Building Oct. 31 near Main Campus Building. The groundbreaking ceremony is set for Nov. 3. Photo by Jacob Beltran

This story was originally published Sept. 13.

By Joe Camacho

The groundbreaking ceremony for the Central Academic Building and Patriots’ Casa will be 4 p.m.-5:30 p.m. Nov. 3 at Main Campus Building, 1 University Way.

The ceremonial groundbreaking will be in conjunction with Saluting America’s Heroes, an official event of the Greater Chamber of San Antonio’s 42 annual “Celebrate America’s Military.”

Marshall Lasswell, director of facilities and physical plant, said construction of the two buildings are expected to begin during the last week of September. Lasswell said in an earlier email that construction times depend on when The Texas A&M University-System’s facilities planning and construction department issues a “notice to proceed.”

The Mesquite reported Feb. 15  that local architecture firm Kell Muñoz Architects was selected to design both buildings. Bartlett-Cocke General Contractors will serve as management-at-risk through the duration of the construction phase.

A redering of the Central Academic Building was presented to faculty and staff at the fall convocation Aug. 27. The groundbreaking for this building and Patriots’ Casa will be Nov. 3 at Main Campus Building in conjunction with Saluting America’s Heroes.

The four-story Central Academic Building has a floor plan of 175,000 gross square feet and will contain classrooms, student services, lounge areas, computer labs and an auditorium.

The two-story, 20,000-gross-square-foot Patriots’ Casa, is designed to serve the University’s active military and veteran population and will offer services to ease transition into higher education and into the civilian workforce.

The buildings are funded through a $75 million permanent university fund, which was approved by the A&M System Board of Regents in February.

Groundbreaking events and Saluting America’s Heroes will take place at Main Campus:

• 2:30 p.m.-5:30 p.m. Veterans Benefits Fair with exhibits; demonstrations by military and first responder
• 2:30 p.m.-8 p.m. Taste of Cultures food fair
• 4 p.m.-5:30 p.m. Groundbreaking ceremony of Central Academic Building and Patriots’ Casa
• 5:30 p.m. High school enlistment oath ceremony
• 6 p.m. ROTC cadet contracting ceremony
• 7 p.m.-8 p.m. Lighted A&M-San Antonio Freedom 2-mile walk recognizing Vietnam veterans on the 50th Anniversary

Patriots’ Casa will be a two-story, 20,000-gross-square-foot building, and will serve the University’s active military and veteran population. Services there will ease transition into higher education and into the civilian workforce.

Students who were shown the renderings of both buildings shared their reactions about the new buildings.

Math senior Jason Lopez praised the University for sticking with mission-themed architecture. He said ending the commute between Brooks Campus and Main Campus will make things easier for students in the future.

“I’m a business and math student myself. I go to both campuses and it’s exhausting,” Lopez said.

Biology senior Haley Willhelm had a different reaction.

She questioned the University’s decision to focus on constructing the Patriots’ Casa specifically for veterans while holding off on plans for a dedicated science building.

“Biology is the fastest growing major here and we’re not getting anything,” he said. “All we have is one lab and there’s not enough hours in the day to accommodate every student.”

But recent updates from University administration suggest plans are already in the works.

Kenneth Mitts, vice president for finance and administration, chief financial officer and recently appointed interim vice president for student affairs, said the University will request a $70 million tuition revenue bond during the next legislative session. The bond will cover the design and construction of a science and technology building. Read more

In a recent administrative update to Faculty Senate, President Maria Hernandez Ferrier confirmed the request for science and technology funding as a high priority for the University.

About the Author

Joseph Camacho
Joseph Camacho
Joseph Camacho is the Multimedia Editor for The Mesquite. Previously, he served as the Mesquite’s Managing Editor and as a member of A&M-San Antonio’s Student Media Board. He has worked as a camera operator and student intern with and freelances as an audio/video engineer for local musicians and documentary filmmakers. He is a 2000 Southside High School graduate, attended Palo Alto College and served as a U.S. Marine. He is the father of two children, ages 3 and 7.

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