Campus Renovations

West Texas A&M Proceeds with $18M in Renovations

West Texas A&M University in Canyon, Texas, has announced a total of $18 million in renovations spread across four regions of the campus. All renovations are slated for completion by August 2021, in time for the beginning of the 2021–22 academic year.

Of the nearly two dozen projects underway, the most significant is a new nursing floor at the Harrington Academic Hall WTAMU Amarillo Center. Renovations to the building’s second floor are projected to cost $7.1 million and will provide a central home to all undergraduate nursing students. Previously, the nursing program’s students and faculty had been divided between various buildings.

“The biggest benefit of having the new floor in the Amarillo center is all of the faculty and all of the students can get together in once space,” said Holly Jeffreys, the WTAMU College of Nursing and Health Science’s department head for nursing. “We have everything we need.”

New amenities will include state-of-the-art technology and equipment, student lounge areas, new classrooms, expanded student parking, and a simulation lab.

“They’re just like a hospital room: Students go in there, we have a patient, we can make that patient do all kinds of things and simulate a real encounter that students will experience and walk through those scenarios that we develop for them,” said Jeffreys. “It’s an awesome learning experience for them, and it gets them comfortable knowing what to do when they do get into the hospital. We have one big simulation lab, but we have five different areas where we can do simulations simultaneously.”

The university is also progressing with $3.8 million in upgrades to the Natural Sciences building, including a new roof; renovated science labs; and infrastructure updates to the plumbing, fire-sprinkler systems, HVAC systems, and the installation of a backup generator.

“We’re going to make some really exciting changes. We’re going to be renovating most of our lab spaces on the third floor and many of them on the second floor,” said David Sissom, head of the department of Life, Earth and Environmental Sciences. “All of these things are going to be really key to making, giving students a better environment in which to work. Cutting-edge facilities, better equipment…it’s going to make a really big impact on students’ success and development.”

At the Virgil Henson Activity Center, improvements to the pool—namely, new paint and flooring—will cost about $1.2 million. And an expansion of the pedestrian mall near 26th Street and Terrell Lawn will provide space for student activities, club gatherings, and football tailgating events. Additions include sidewalks, landscaping, and a new drainage and sewer system to make the space accessible to students year-round.

“It’s building traditions,” said Randy Rikel, WTAMU Vice President of Business and Finances. “We just moved the football stadium to campus two years ago, and the first time we had a tailgate, it was incredible just to have people here on campus. It’s another place for people to get together in fellowship and to root on the Buffs.”

Other renovation projects include new flooring in four residential halls, elevator modernization in four campus buildings, and re-roofing two of the university’s oldest buildings.

“Summer is an ideal time to undertake these projects because campus life slows down so much,” said Rikel. “But by the time students arrive in August for the fall semester, these newly refreshed areas will make an enormous difference.”

About the Author

Matt Jones is senior editor of Spaces4Learning. He can be reached at [email protected].

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