Restricted parking spaces and a road in the middle of campus will be converted to green space during the Bobcat Trail Mall Redevelopment project.
Bobcat Trail, which runs perpendicular to LBJ Drive and Edward Gary Street, will be converted to a mall area, making a more pedestrian-friendly campus, said Michael Petty, director of facilities planning, design and construction. The estimated total cost of the project is $5.4 million. Underground infrastructure such as water, steam and sewer lines will be replaced and concrete will be removed to create the green space.
“It’s been the president’s vision that we move from gray to green,” Petty said. “The whole idea is that we want our university to be a pedestrian university, so that there are outdoor teaching spaces, communal spaces and places to enjoy the Texas weather.”
Petty said the project design will be taken to the Board of Regents for approval in November. Construction is expected to begin next year if approved, and renderings will be made in April 2014.
The architect for the project is TGB Partners, and the contractor is Flynn Construction, which has led other recent Texas State building projects. Petty said the project should be completed by summer 2015.
More green space on campus means less heat will be given off by cement, Petty said. The university wants to get students out of their cars and on their feet while providing a better campus to walk around, Petty said.
Thomas Gleason is a geography senior and parking and transportation committee chair for the Associated Student Government. Gleason said he supports the plan to remove the road and create green space.
“I think it will create a greater sense of community on campus,” Gleason said. “It will get more students hanging out outdoors and will make the campus more safe and more pedestrian-friendly.”
The project will be similar to Concho Green, which was repurposed a few years ago, Petty said.
“What will be done at Bobcat Trail will be much better than what is at Concho Green,” Petty said. “Concho Green is a very beautiful element within the heart of campus, and we want to repeat that.”
The utilities under Bobcat Trail will be replaced before construction on the pedestrian mall begins, Petty said.
Sheri Lara, director of utilities operations, said maintenance work will be done as needed.
Petty said as new infrastructure around campus is completed, a network of purple pipe is being laid, which will carry repurposed water from the City of San Marcos.
The liquid will be “gray water,” which is generated from activities such as dishwashing and bathing. The university will be using the recycled water for irrigation and other uses, Petty said.
“It’s a way of recycling water. It is part of our green initiative, and it only makes sense,” Petty said.