The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents today authorized Chancellor John Sharp to negotiate a public-private partnership that will enable Texas A&M University-Texarkana to move forward with construction of an anticipated $11 million, 38,000-square-foot recreation and wellness center on the Bringle Lake campus in Texarkana, Texas.
Key features of the center will likely include a regulation-sized intercollegiate basketball/volleyball court that could double as space for recreational sports, retractable bleachers, student recreation space, classrooms, student-study areas, locker rooms, a wellness center and training room for student-athletes, and offices for faculty and staff.
Sharp will be negotiating with Eagle Lake Development of Texarkana, Texas, which emerged as the final candidate in a request-for-proposals process to work with A&M-Texarkana on construction of the center. A&M-Texarkana will raise funds to furnish and equip the building for student and community use.
“The Texas A&M University System is a leader in using public-private partnerships to keep costs down, saving money for our students, their parents and Texas taxpayers,” said Sharp. “Innovation is key to providing high-quality facilities while keeping a university education affordable.”
“As a growing destination university, it’s very important for us to create high-quality experiences for our students and for the Texarkana community,” said Dr. Emily Cutrer, president of A&M-Texarkana. “These types of experiences often translate into increases in enrollment, retention and graduation rates for the university community, and they generate positive benefits for the community at large in terms of economic and workforce development.”
A&M System Regent Judy Morgan of Texarkana, Texas, said the new center could play a significant role in keeping A&M-Texarkana relevant in today’s higher education marketplace.
“From the Board of Regents’ perspective, student-engagement opportunities help to build a community in which students may develop not only as scholars, but as well-rounded individuals,” Regent Morgan said. “The new recreation and wellness center is a win-win situation for everyone involved. We look forward to partnering with private industry and donors to create a wonderful building dedicated to the pursuit of recreation and fitness. The project also will have a tremendous impact on local business and industry in the region.”
Groundbreaking for the recreation and wellness center is tentatively planned for this winter, Dr. Cutrer said. Construction is expected to take approximately 15 months.
“We are so proud to provide the Eagle family with this opportunity for student and community interaction,” Dr. Cutrer said. “The recreation and wellness center will become the living room of our campus, and it will be a welcoming place to invite our guests.”