The City of San Marcos approached the university to purchase a 43-acre piece of land owned by Texas State on Highway 21 next to the airport, which now holds the Traffic Safety Center and Horticulture Center.
Bill Nance, vice president of finance and support services, said the city has been interested in the property for a number of years. The city has outsourced management of the airport, and approximately six months ago he received inquiries about the property again. He said they expressed interest in purchasing the property to use it for more “airport friendly” development.
Nance said university officials were invited to a meeting at San Marcos City Hall about a month ago to discuss the property. The purchase of the property could aid in the city’s goal to improve and expand the airport.
Nance said the property was a U.S. Air Force base until the 1950s. The strip of land on Highway 21 was donated by the federal government to the university under the stipulation that for 25 years the university could not do anything with the land besides use it for educational purposes.
Nance said about five years ago the 25-year agreement expired, and the property became university land with no strings attached. He said even when the requirement was in place he would periodically receive inquiries from city employees or members of the airport commission. Inquirers would ask when the agreement expired because they were looking to develop it for services related to the airport.
Scott Rowe is the director of the Traffic Safety Center and senior lecturer in the department of engineering technology. He said the Traffic Safety Center and Horticulture Center are located on approximately 25 and 18 acres of the property, respectively.
The Traffic Safety Center offers driver’s education for teacher preparation, teenage drivers and workshops for motorcycle instructors. Rowe said the facility was built specifically for those purposes.
Nance said the city was told if they want to purchase the property, their proposal would need to address where to continue to teach motorcycle safety courses.
Nance said Ken Mix, assistant professor in the agriculture department, received funding from the environmental service fee committee last fall to develop a sustainable farm on the property. He said the greenhouse on the third floor of the agriculture building has begun to leak and needs to be relocated, and the Horticulture Center on Highway 21 has been identified as a possible site to build the new greenhouse.
Aditi Angirasa, chair of the department of agriculture, said in an April 18 meeting, plans were discussed for the location of a new greenhouse. Plans were discussed with the appropriate colleges’ officials for the facility to be built near the biology department greenhouse on Lindsey Street and not on the Highway 21 property.
Nance said the university told the city to submit a formal proposal within 30 days. The 30 days have since passed, and the university has not received the proposal.
Nance said the university must have the Board of Regents’ approval in order to sell property. A motion to take to the board has not been prepared because the university does not yet know what the city will propose.