Construction and renovations enhance Texas State campuses and community
Whether you are new to Texas State, a freshman or incoming faculty, or you’ve just been away from the university campuses for a while, there are many changes on and off campus to enjoy.
What’s new? Construction is changing the campuses, renovations will improve student services, and new businesses have opened up in San Marcos.
New and different
The Den is getting a makeover. Now called The Den Food Company, Steve Granados, marketing director, Texas State Dining Services explains: “Urban outdoor lighting and bar seating will give guests the feel of dining in a metropolitan area. The addition of a large exterior bar dining ledge will create a more open environment and add more bar-style seating with a view, replacing the large window panes. The bar will include a window awning that is perfect for opening the dining experience to good weather, creating more relaxed, airy seating. There will be even more innovative spaces with the addition of pergolas to the exterior dining area in the breezeway. For the final TXST personal touch, the walls will feature oversized murals that depict the campus spirit.” Two new eateries will be open: Absurd Bird, which specializes in hormone-free fried chicken, and Pom & Honey, featuring customized salads, grain bowls, and wraps. Sandwiches, bagels, and pizza will remain.
The Alfred B. Alkek Library is home to Alkek One and the new Texas Music Gallery. Officially opened in July 2020, Alkek One features new and emerging technologies including MakerSpaces, Immersion Studio, Design Spaces, GeoSpace, and YouStar Studio. “Alkek One provides a space for students to learn and explore without fear,” says Dr. Krishna Kisi, assistant professor in the Department of Engineering Technology.
The Wittliff Collections new Texas Music Gallery opened in August 2020 on the Alkek’s seventh floor. The exhibition “Ray Benson: In His Own Voice” will run through 2021. The gallery features large video walls, touch screen displays, and virtual cases of digitized materials. The Texas Music Collection embraces a rich variety of Texas music, from country and Western Swing to blues, polka, rock and roll, conjunto, and Tejano.
Construction and renovation
Construction is underway at the corner of Sessom Drive and Peques Street for Live Oak Hall. The $10 million facility, which will serve approximately 600 students and faculty of the College of Fine Arts and Communication, will feature a film sound stage, TV studio, recording mix classroom, editing lab, Foley room for sound effects and offices. The project is expected to be completed in August 2022.
The Pecan Building located at the intersection of West Holland and Academy Streets next to the Speck Street Garage, will soon house the University Police Department (UPD). The UPD offices in Nueces will be the new Testing Evaluation and Measurement Center.
Construction began in March for a new slab-on-grade metal building to house laboratory and office space for the Department of Anthropology. Completion of the project, behind the Grady Early Building on Ranch Road 12, is expected to be completed in September.
Two residence halls have been renamed. Angelina Hall is now First Five Freedom Hall while San Gabriel Hall will be Elena Zamora O'Shea Hall, named for the first known Latina student at the university in 1906. The First Five Freedom Hall is in honor of the first Black students to enroll at Texas State in 1963: Dana Jean Smith, Helen Jackson Franks, Georgia Hoodye Cheatham, Gloria Odoms Powell, and Mabeleen Washington Wozniak.
Fifty outdoor table and chair combos, complete with umbrellas and some with solar-powered charging stations, have popped up on campus. Eric Algoe, vice president for Finance and Support Services, said these were purchased in response to COVID-19. “We wanted to create more opportunities for faculty, staff, and students to be outdoors,” Algoe said. The key locations include the plaza near R.F. Mitte, Bobcat Trail, the mall by the LBJ-Student Center, and the plazas overlooking the ponds at the JCK Administration Building.
The Café located in the UAC Building will transform into a coffee and wine bar after 5 p.m. The former Starbucks location will feature craft beer and wine for customers over 21 in the evening hours. Patrons will also be able to order food from Jones Dining Center and have it delivered to the space.
At the Round Rock Campus
Health Information Management and Radiation Therapy have moved to the Round Rock Campus, joining other Health Profession majors.
Last August, the Campus Recreation Center opened on the first floor of the Avery Building in Room 105. The Center includes a 3,000-square-foot equipped weight room and a 1,000-square-foot exercise studio. The weight room can accommodate up to 50 people, while the studio will offer group exercise classes. Hours this fall will be 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday through Thursday; 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday; and 1 to 6 p.m. on Sunday. Dr. Daniel S. Vasquez, Associate Director of Campus Recreation, said there is also a lighted field adjacent to the building for intermural athletics.
A new Campus Services Building will serve the needs of facilities staff, receiving and warehouse services, the Environmental, Health, Safety and Risk Management Department, Parking Services, Mail Services, the University Police Department, and the Office of Distance and Extended Learning
Texas State will also rename streets on the Round Rock Campus in honor of Dr. Adolfo “Sonny” Barrera and Dr. Elvin Holt, professor emeritus English. Barrera was an assistant vice president for Student Affairs and director of multicultural affairs. Holt, the first tenured Black professor in the Department of English, retired last year after 37 years at the university.
Downtown San Marcos
Since March 2020, 23 new businesses have opened or re-opened in downtown San Marcos. One of the most noticeable additions close to campus is the Target Downtown at 101 Concho Street. Open from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m., Target offers a pharmacy and groceries.
Valentino’s Pizza, which closed in 2018, is planning a return to the square this fall. The restaurant will reopen under new management, but in its old location at 110 N. LBJ Drive.
The San Marcos Chamber of Commerce provided this list of new businesses in town since March 2020 with links.
San Marcos is now poised to be the newest location for a Kerbey Lane restaurant. COVID-19 put the renovation of the site located at Sessoms and University on hold, but the plan is to open this fall. Austin-based Kerbey Lane is known for its homemade comfort food and all-day breakfasts. Texas State owns the water-front land and the building that has housed several restaurants over the years, most recently it was home to the Salt Grass Steak House.