The A&M System plans to allocate $45 million to Texas A&M University-San Antonio to build a public health and education building after the Texas Legislature approved Senate Bill 52, a bill that would provide funds for higher education.
The bill is pending Gov. Abbott’s endorsement. The bill would distribute over $3 billion to higher education institutions in Texas if approved.
According to an Oct. 21 email from President Cynthia Teniente-Matson, the building would accommodate A&M-San Antonio’s College of Education and Human Development.
Kathryn Funk-Baxter, vice president for business affairs and financial officer, said this possible new building sponsored by Bill 52 aligns with the university’s master plan.
“As the campus is growing, we need additional spaces, additional classrooms, additional opportunities for students to have gathering spaces and so this building compliments all of that,” Funk-Baxter said on Nov. 8 in a Microsoft Teams interview.
Funk-Baxter said she projects potential construction of the building could start as early as 2023 and be ready by 2024.
The building would be located in the “new south squad,” Funk-Baxter said.
“Our new south quad is formed with the Classroom Hall and our new library and College of Business that will be opening in August of next year,” Funk-Baxter said. “Then this new building would be located in this quad. There will be at least three buildings in that quad area once this building is constructed.”
The building will support programming in the area of public health. Funk-Baxter said it would lay the basis for A&M-San Antonio to design programs in public health.
This department would complement the new Research and Health Science department and become a piece of A&M-San Antonio’s research initiative, she said.
“Our research footprint is tremendously growing and public health is just one area of our research portfolio,” Funk-Baxter said.
While programming for the building, the university will be looking at lessons learned from pandemic experiences, she said.
Funk-Baxter said this would be done by providing ample outdoor spaces and indoor spaces for students to spread out and collaborate.
“We hope we will take those lessons learned from our days of COVID,” Funk-Baxter said. “For example, building classrooms that allow you to have both in-person and students online at the same time is something that we learned is helpful and useful for our students.”