May 13, 2016
Texas A&M Moves Ahead With Input From Regional Leaders
McAllen, Texas — Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton has confirmed that The Texas A&M University System can use permanent university fund bonds to construct the first building for Texas A&M University’s planned higher education center in McAllen.
In a letter to The Texas A&M University System Office of General Counsel, the attorney general’s staff writes that “the System may finance the higher education center in McAllen with permanent university fund bonds so long as the center is not a separate degree-granting institution and the center supports the University at College Station.”
John Sharp, Chancellor of the Texas A&M University System shared the news in an email first with a newly formed Advisory Council of regional civic and business leaders, which held its inaugural meeting in McAllen on May 6.
“This is what we expected, but we want to thank Attorney General Ken Paxton for his prompt consideration of this important matter,” said Chancellor Sharp. “This vital educational center will be Texas A&M University in every way, from Tier One faculty whose purpose is teaching, research and service, to the students’ opportunity to achieve the Aggie Ring and a diploma from Texas A&M University.”
In February, The Texas A&M University System’s Board of Regents added the $40 million Multi-Purpose Academic Building slated for McAllen to the capital plan, allowing for planning and design to go forward. The 60,000 square-foot facility will include classrooms, labs, offices for faculty and staff, as well as student services and common areas. The City of McAllen and Hidalgo County are issuing $10 million in bonds towards the construction in addition to the utilities and infrastructure for the 100-acre site.
Texas A&M University officials continue to work with local and state officials as they prepare to submit a formal proposal to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. The establishment of an Advisory Council has formalized the industry feedback and advocacy efforts.
Alonzo Cantu is serving as the founding chair of the Council. Members of the Council represent the broad industrial, governmental, economic development, and educational interests of the Rio Grande Valley. In his email to Council members, Chancellor Sharp requested their help in affirming the identified workforce needs in the region as well as advocating for the university’s intentions to support education attainment and economic development.
The Council expressed the need for the entire region to work collectively to support the continued regional economic development.
“This Advisory Council discussion and the timing of the Attorney General’s review signals an important next step in our planning,” said Texas A&M University President Michael K. Young. “The feedback and advocacy of the Council will help us to improve our proposals to state officials and ensure our impact as we seek to make high-quality higher education more readily accessible and affordable for the students and industry who call the Valley home.”
Additional members will be added to the Advisory Council over the next few months and many will continue to serve in this capacity for the higher education center.
For additional information on the proposed McAllen Center, please go to valleyhec.tamu.edu (outdated link).
About The Texas A&M University System
The Texas A&M University System is one of the largest systems of higher education in the nation, with a budget of $4.2 billion. Through a statewide network of 11 universities, seven state agencies, two service units and a comprehensive health science center, the A&M System educates more than 140,000 students and makes more than 22 million additional educational contacts through service and outreach programs each year. System-wide, externally funded research expenditures exceed $932 million and help drive the state’s economy.
About Texas A&M University
Texas A&M University, the flagship university of the Texas A&M University System, is one of the largest and most diversified institutions of higher education in the nation. With record enrollments of over 64,000 students, Texas A&M University remains committed to the values of its land-grant heritage, ensuring accessible education for the people of Texas and the world. With externally funded research expenditures exceeding $854 million, Texas A&M University’s faculty-led research is changing lives globally while stimulating economic growth in Texas. Always, leading by example, Texas A&M University produces leaders of character dedicated to serving the greater good.
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