Construction

Consulting firms planning, seeking input for student center renovation

Planning is underway for renovations and expansion to the LBJ Student Center as consultants look to students for input on the changes.

Jack Rahmann, LBJ Student Center director, said consultants from an architectural firm are holding a series of meetings and taking surveys to understand the needs of students, guests and staff who use the student center. As enrollment continues to increase, the age of the building has become more apparent, Rahmann said.

“We are taking a two-phase approach,” Rahmann said. “First, we need to find out what the building needs, and then how it should grow.”

Some commuter parking spaces to be eliminated

About 700 commuter parking spaces will be eliminated over the next year due to construction.

Stephen Prentice, assistant director of Parking Services, said the Speck Street surface lot, which contains 442 commuter spaces, will be lost to construction on a new residence hall in May.  

Some of the lost parking spaces will be replaced near the new residence hall, Prentice said. A 172-space lot will be constructed in January near Canyon Hall and will contain residential, faculty and staff spaces.

“It’ll be hard to access,” Prentice said. “You’re going to have to come in from the back of Blanco (Hall) to get there, but that’ll be returned to green for the residence hall.”

Local Whataburger selected for prototype renovations

The Whataburger located off Interstate Highway 35 at the intersection of Guadalupe Street and River Road has been selected to undergo major transformations and become a new prototype for future locations.

With more than 700 locations across the country, James Turcotte, Whataburger senior vice president of real estate, said San Marcos was chosen as the prototype location because it is a growing community.

“This restaurant is one of the busiest locations in the entire company, so it’s important we match that growth,” Turcotte said.

Construction will begin this month in the parking lot, and the closing and demolition of the entire restaurant will take place June to make way for a larger one, said Amber Pharris, location manager.

Woodlands developers in process of obtaining permits for housing on Cape’s Camp

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Developers of The Woodlands of San Marcos, which will be built on the disputed Cape’s Camp property, are working toward breaking ground after Planning and Zoning commissioners approved the second phase of the environmental protection plan this January.

City councilmembers approved zoning changes that would allow Georgia-based Dovetail Development to build a 306-unit, 1,000-bedroom apartment complex off River Road and next to Interstate Highway 35 with a 5-2 vote in January 2013.

John Foreman, the city’s planning manager, said now that the environmental protection plan is approved, the developers have to survey the land to set property boundaries and obtain various permits.

Hutchison Street expansions to make room for emergency, larger vehicles

Proposed modifications to lane width on the north side of Hutchison Street may remedy the current size constraints that keep emergency vehicles and delivery trucks from easily turning onto the street.

During the March 18 city council meeting, the city engineer proposed modifications that will take five feet away from the buffer space between the curb of the sidewalk and parking spaces. The buffer space was added during construction. The current lane size of Hutchison Street is 9 ½ feet, and the modifications would expand the width to 11 ½ feet, according to Jennifer Shell, assistant director of engineering and city engineer.

Loop 82 construction plans face delays due to acquisition process

The bridge construction for Loop 82 on Aquarena Springs Drive has been delayed to begin between Aug. 2014 and Jan. 2015 due to the legal acquisition process between the city and TxDOT.

The city is now working with TxDOT to begin planning the construction process in May, said project engineer Rey Garcia. The project will be awarded to a contractor in May, and it will take two to three months for the legal work to be completed before construction can begin. Garcia said the project will break ground in August if the acquisition process is completed by early summer.

“That’s going to be the earliest that we can start, and the window is if the acquisition process takes longer, then it could take up to early next year,” Garcia said.

Performing Arts Center opens to public

Texas State opened the doors of its new Performing Arts Center to the community Sunday with a 45-minute “Public Spectacular” showcase that incorporated more than 200 student performers.

The old theatre building, known as the “round red rotunda,” was built in 1971 and will continue to be used as an instructional facility and practice space, said Timothy Mottet, dean of the College of Fine Arts and Communication.

On-campus complexes to be razed as university focuses on new freshmen

University officials will soon implement plans to demolish all on-campus apartment complexes except Bobcat Village, leaving many students searching for off-campus housing options for the upcoming summer and fall semesters.

Clear Springs Apartments, which has been vacant since September, will be demolished by fall 2014, said Juan Guerra, associate vice president of Facilities. Campus Colony and Comanche Hill on Comanche and Wood Streets and Riverside Apartments, located next to Strahan Coliseum, will close and be torn down at some point in the future, said Nancy Nusbaum, associate vice president for Finance and Support Services Planning.

University apartment complex to be demolished

In lieu of costly renovations, officials have decided to demolish the closed university-owned Clear Springs Apartments  to convert the riverside property into parkland.

The complex closed at the end of September 2013 after it was deemed an “uninhabitable living situation” for it residents, said Bill Nance, vice president for Finance and Support Services. Plans are now in motion to turn the property into an “extension” of Sewell Park.

Downtown business owners reporting drop in sales due to ongoing N. LBJ construction

Many business owners on North LBJ Drive and Hutchison Street say they have experienced a decrease in sales since August due to construction covering much of their property, reducing foot traffic in the downtown area.

Phase 1 of the Downtown Reconstruction Project Phase I began in August 2012 and is slated for completion this fall, according to the City of San Marcos website. As part of the 2014 plans for the project, the west side of North LBJ Drive from Hopkins to Concho Streets is temporarily closed for reconstruction for the next two to three months. The north half of East Hutchison Street is temporarily shut down for street and sidewalk construction as well.

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