Senate Bill 52 to Fund Rehabilitation of WT Education Building – Amarillo Pioneer
A venerable West Texas A&M University monument will be given new life thanks to the $ 3.35 billion earmarked Tuesday by the Texas Legislature for investment projects in Texas higher education institutions.
WT received $ 45 million in Senate Bill 52, which now goes to Governor Greg Abbott for approval. The funding will be used to begin the rehabilitation of the education building, commonly referred to as âOld Edâ.
The building, which was the second college hall built on campus, officially opened on October 19, 1928. It originally housed a demonstration school, where education majors received hands-on training to teach schoolchildren. . This school was closed in May 1951 and classes for WT students were housed there until 1988.
“The education building is now unusable, but with this allocation and additional philanthropic funds it will be reborn as a launching pad for distance education projects – a hub for 21st century students.” said WT chairman Walter V. Wendler. âWe are grateful that the Legislature helps us meet the needs of the Texas Panhandle and beyond. We strongly believe in the proper management of our facilities and through this renaissance the education building will allow us to dramatically increase the number of online students we can serve.
Wendler announced the pending assignment at an Oct. 19 meeting of the WTAMU Foundation Board of Trustees. In addition to Abbott’s signing, WT’s funding plans must also be approved by the Texas A&M University System Board of Regents and Chancellor John Sharp.
WT has been a pioneer in online education since 1997, and providing educational opportunities not only to the people of the Panhandle, but also to those around the world is the key mission of the University’s long-term plan, WT 125: From Panhandle to the World .
This plan is fueled by the historic $ 125 million A west extensive fundraising campaign. Campus building projects are a key part of this campaign, which will fund initiatives that showcase the people, programs and places of Panhandle University.
Additional funds from the state allocation will be used to bring some older buildings up to standard and to pay for ongoing and deferred maintenance.
Texas A&M University System investment projects would total $ 727.4 million under SB52. That’s 22 percent of the total clearance.
Chancellor Sharp thanked Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick, President Dade Phelan, Senator Brandon Creighton, Senator Jane Nelson and Representative Greg Bonnen for their leadership and all members of the House and Senate who supported the legislation.
“We are pleased with the confidence the legislature has shown in the Texas A&M System to be good stewards of taxpayer dollars,” said Sharp. âWe will continue to earn that trust by serving the students and citizens of this great state. “
The Chancellor also thanked Abbott for including higher education in the third special session this fall. SB52 is the first legislation since 2015 to tackle a comprehensive list of investment projects for the state’s public colleges and universities.
The Texas A&M system trains more than 150,000 students, about half of whom attend one of Texas’ 10 regional universities, from A&M Texarkana to Texas A&M International in Laredo, and from West Texas A&M to Canyon to A&M Corpus Christi.
-West Texas A&M University