While the image of cranes looming over the sites of demolished dormitories and scaffolding scaling the sides of existing buildings may be unsettling, the ever-present construction at Texas State is providing an exciting glimpse into the university’s future.
It is easy to lose sight of the big picture when looking at the current state of campus. Historic Old Main is almost unrecognizable without its trademark maroon roof tiling, and professors often have to lecture through the sounds of hammering and sawing. Students living in San Saba and Blanco Halls last year started a petition asking for some of their housing costs to be reimbursed, saying their quality of living was affected by the construction of the West Campus Housing Complex. While construction is often frustrating for students, faculty and visitors alike, it is important to remember it is only a temporary inconvenience that will greatly benefit the university in coming years.
Construction and expansion is necessary in order for the university to accommodate its growing number of students. According to a Sept. 18 University Star article, there are 35,568 students enrolled at Texas State this fall, a four percent increase from the previous year. This is the 16th consecutive year the university has reached a record enrollment. As the university continues to grow in enrollment, it has to increase its number of facilities for both logistical and strategic reasons.
Increasing the prestige of the university and achieving Tier One status has long been a goal of Texas State administrators. In order for this to happen, the university is looking to add more Ph.D. and master’s degree programs. However, Texas State currently cannot accommodate its existing students and programs, let alone new ones, so administrators requested approximately $133 million for the construction of buildings on both the main and Round Rock campuses.
Unfortunately, construction plans were halted when legislators could not agree on a bill to authorize bonds for the new facilities before the 83rd legislative session ended this summer. Despite being critical of the university’s poor growth management in the past, the editorial board agrees with administrators that construction of new buildings is imperative. New facilities are necessary to attract high-quality faculty members who can help Texas State reach the monetary and research-related criteria needed to become a Tier One university.
New buildings like the Performing Arts Center and its accompanying parking garage are excellent examples of the types of facilities that will bring students and faculty to Texas State. In addition, an attractive campus with new buildings may help tip the scales for undecided student athletes and lure them to Texas State over other nearby universities. Having an aesthetically appealing campus is a critical part of helping the university achieve its long-term goals.
Texas State seniors know firsthand how quickly one can see the payoffs of construction. Completed projects like the North Campus Housing Complex and the Undergraduate Academic Center were in the planning or early stages of construction just three years ago. While the construction of those buildings may have been irritating at the time, they have already become important parts of everyday life for many students and faculty members.
The Texas State community is extremely fortunate to have one of the most attractive university campuses in the area. Few other schools have the same level of natural beauty Texas State enjoys, with a river running through campus and hills home to both heavy vegetation and wildlife populations. Despite new buildings popping up yearly, administrators have planned the construction projects in a way that both retains and highlights the landscape of Texas State.
While living through the construction of new facilities is never enjoyable, students, faculty and staff should always keep in mind that future benefits will far outweigh any inconveniences it may cause in the present.