Texas Senate Update: A&M San Antonio Campus
by Senator Carlos Uresti
With 2007 in the history books and 2008 going full speed ahead, I am happy to bring you good news regarding the A&M San Antonio Campus! Already, I have had meetings with A&M System representatives and the A&M Task Force has reconvened to discuss goals for increasing recruitment and fundraising for a scholarship fund.
As you may know, when I took over my post as State Senator for District 19, I also took over the responsibility of providing A&M with a link to the Texas Senate. My predecessor, Frank Madla, started the chain of events that brought an A&M campus to the heart of the Southside of San Antonio, and I am proud to carry on his legacy. The University, which began in portable trailers on the campus of Palo Alto Community College, has recently moved to a vacant elementary on Gillette Street. This new location can accommodate 2,000 students, and over 1,000 students have already been recruited to reach the 1,500 forecasted total enrollment by the end of 2008.
In addition to the new move, the Verano Land Group, L.P. has donated 964 acres for future site development to the university and has also committed $1 million to a scholarship fund. As far as administration for the new university is concerned, an Executive Director will soon be hired to help transition the campus to meet all of its goals for 2008 and beyond.
During recent meetings with members of the A&M Board of Regents, the chancellor, and the vice chancellor for government regulation, they have all told me the same thing: that things are progressing well for the new university and that it won't be long until we have a fully operational, independent branch of the A&M University system in our own backyard.
Building a new university and implementing it into our community is no easy feat, and to deal with any issues or problems that may arise, I have formed a dedicated A&M Task Force. This team is comprised of local school district superintendents, local community college presidents and representatives, San Antonio's own A&M alumni, members from the San Antonio business community, and leaders from local Chambers of Commerce. Together we will work with A&M and other stakeholders in the project to ensure that this new institution becomes a jewel in the Southside community.
I think all of this news is reason to get excited. Everyone needs to be made aware of the growth and prosperity of this particular A&M location, as it is something that all of us hope will bring growth and prosperity to the Southside and San Antonio. Parents need to talk to their children about the benefits of a college education, and this new campus provides a way to accomplish the goal of earning a college degree without traveling far. Educators at all levels—from elementary schools to community colleges—have a responsibility to tell students that now a local, four year university is well within their reach.
Carlos I. Uresti is the senator from State Senate District 19, a 23 county area stretching along the U.S.-Mexico border, from San Antonio to El Paso County, including all or part of the following counties: Bandera, Bexar, Brewster, Culberson, Crockett, El Paso, Edwards, Hudspeth, Jeff Davis, Kinney, Loving, Maverick, Medina, Pecos, Presidio, Real, Reeves, Sutton, Terrell, Uvalde, Val Verde, Ward, and Winkler. Covering 55,000 square miles, the district contains 62 school districts, and spans two time zones. As the largest geographical senate district in the contiguous 48 states, Senate District 19 is larger than 24 states and 25 countries.