CANYON, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — As Senate Bill 52 heads to the desk of Texas Gov. Greg Abbott, West Texas A&M University is expected to see the impact of those funds on its Canyon campus if the bill is signed.
More than $3.3 billion in funds were appropriated by the Texas Legislature Tuesday aimed at funding capital projects at various higher education institutions throughout the state. According to a news release, approximately $45 million is expected to come to West Texas A&M University.
The funds for West Texas A&M University are a part of more than $700 million which is expected to go to campuses within the Texas A&M University System through this bill, according to a release from the system. Other systems which are expected to receive funds from the bill include campuses in the Texas Tech University System and the University of Texas System.
Officials with West Texas A&M University recently announced that they plan on using the funding to start the rehabilitation of its Education Building, the second academic hall that first opened in October 1928. According to the release, the building initially housed a demonstration school, where education majors taught children. While that school was discontinued in 1951, classes still occurred in the building until 1988.
“The Education Building is unusable now, but thanks to this allocation and additional philanthropic funds, it will be reborn as a launching pad for distance-education projects — a hub for 21st-century students,” WTAMU President Walter Wendler said in the release. “We are grateful that the Legislature is helping us meet the needs of the Texas Panhandle and beyond. We firmly believe in practicing good stewardship of our facilities, and through this rebirth, the Education Building will allow us to dramatically increase the number of online students we can serve.”
The release states that additional funds from the allocation are expected to be used by WTAMU to bring some of the campus’s older buildings up to code, as well as pay for ongoing, deferred maintenance.
Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp said in the release that he is thankful to the Texas Legislature for these appropriated funds towards higher education capital projects.
“We are gratified by the confidence the Legislature shows in The Texas A&M System to be good stewards of tax dollars,” Sharp said in the release. “We will continue to earn that trust as we serve the students and citizens of this great state.”
In addition to the signature by Abbott, WTAMU’s plans for the funding has to be approved by the system’s Board of Regents as well as Sharp.