March 27, 2009 COLLEGE STATION — Construction of a $62.4 million Agriculture Headquarters Building and Visitor Center, due to be completed on the Texas A&M west campus in April 2011, was authorized by the Texas A&M System Board of Regents this week.
The five-story headquarters building will enclose 168,000 square feet and house three academic departments that would move from the main campus: agricultural economics; agricultural leadership, education and communications; and recreation, park and tourism sciences.
The top floor will include the administrative offices of the vice chancellor for agriculture and life sciences, the dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and the directors of two state agencies (Texas AgriLife Research and the Texas AgriLife Extension Service). All of these offices are now in the Jack K. Williams Administration Building, which faces Texas Avenue on the main campus.
A 13,000-square foot visitor center will be built beside the headquarters building on the site located on John Kimbrough Boulevard east of Reed Arena. The visitor’s center will showcase the broad impact of agriculture on people’s lives, and “offer an educational and inspirational look at a variety of agriculture and life sciences opportunities for youth today,” according to documents prepared for the regents.
“I am excited with the regents’ decision to approve these buildings” said Dr. Mark Hussey, vice chancellor and dean for agriculture and life sciences. “This decision will enable us to collaborate more effectively and consolidate more of our departments, agencies and administrative functions on the west campus. “Additionally, through the visitor center, we can now showcase how agriculture makes a difference in lives of people across our state, nation and world to prospective students and the general public.” Hussey noted that the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences has been moving academic departments across Wellborn Road from the university’s main campus to the west campus for the last 25 years. When three more move into the new building, a total of 11 of the college’s 14 departments will be on the west campus.
These moves, he said, would free space on the main campus that is needed by other colleges.
The two buildings authorized for construction, expected to begin in May, are part of a four-building agriculture complex envisioned for the site. Hussey said these additional facilities would house conference facilities and office space for agency services, but no timetable has been set for their construction.