Downtown office space purchased to hold Texas School Safety Center

News Reporter

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400 West Hopkins St. will house the Texas School of Safety Center.

University officials have purchased a downtown San Marcos office building to house the Texas School Safety Center, which will have to vacate its current location to make way for a new residence hall in West Campus.

The safety center, which serves as the central location for the dissemination of safety and security information for K-12 schools and junior college throughout the state, is currently located in Canyon Hall. Bill Nance, vice president for Finance and Support Services, said Canyon Hall will be demolished in June for the construction of the new residence hall, prompting the need for the safety center’s relocation.

Nance said university officials purchased the office building located at 400 W. Hopkins St. in December 2013 for $1.9 million to house the safety center. The previous tenants’ leases for the Hopkins St. building will expire March 1, which should allow time for renovations before the safety center’s move-in date, Nance said.

The safety center’s move needs to be made quickly to accommodate its schedule and make way for the new residence hall, Nance said. He said the new Moore Street Housing Project should be open by fall 2016.

Juan Guerra, associate vice president of Facilities, said the residence hall will closely resemble the West Campus Housing Complex, which is currently under construction.

Guerra said the 191,000 square foot residence hall will house 598 beds.

Demolition of Canyon Hall is expected to begin in July or August after an asbestos survey is conducted, Guerra said.

Victoria Calder, director of the Texas School Safety Center, said the center is always looking to grow, and employees are excited about the move. She said the new Hopkins St. location will provide an extra 2,000 square feet and is expected to be a
permanent home.

Financial backing for the purchase of the new building will come from the Higher Education Assistance Fund, an annual state appropriation from the Texas Legislature, Nance said. HEAF funding can only be used to build or repair buildings, purchase capital equipment and library books or acquire property, Nance said. HEAF funds can also only be put toward educational buildings and equipment.