Creating a new Campus Plan

Imagine this: a brand new nursing building that sits across from York Science Center; a three-story student union building combined with a performing arts center that backs the visitor side bleachers of a brand new football stadium between the Musick Alumni Center and Museum and Mayborn Campus Center.

It’s all part of the proposed campus masterplan.

The new Student Union Building is projected to be the ultimate center for socializing, doing homework and eating meals from choice chain restaurants.

UMHB is growing and aiming to be the choice Christian university in Texas.

To make room for incoming students in the dorms, the Nolan Creek area is purposed as the future landscape for upperclassmen to call home. The new apartment-style living project will begin within the next month and will be complete for move-in the fall 2011 semester.

Expansion of campus has been an ongoing process for the university’s administration. Accommodating a larger student body does mean developing

President Dr. Randy O’Rear and the Board of Trustees have been carefully planning the university’s future, knowing nothing will be set in stone until an official meeting that will take place in 2011.

“We do anticipate putting the final version of the plan in front of the Board of Trustees for a vote in their February meeting,” O’Rear said.

As the president, O’Rear knows not everyone will be pleased with the final decision. The budget for the projects will be several million dollars.

The administration is adamant about fulfilling a specific vision for the university.

“If you don’t have the facilities to accomplish that vision, or even have a plan … this campus eventually has to look like a place that could be the university of choice for Christian higher education in the Southwest,” O’Rear said.

The only set project so far is the new apartment complex. The finalization of a nursing building, SUB, performing arts center and football stadium will not be determined until February 2011.

“The top priority after the new apartments is a new nursing building, and we do have a planning team that has recently been put together to select an architect that will start making progress in designing a new nursing building,” he said.

Many students who attended the town hall meeting in October are eager to see change.

“With the income of $62 million a year, in the next five years we are going to be spending $70-80 million on the new facilities, and I don’t understand how we’re going to be able to afford it,” junior accounting major Bob Beckworth said.

However, Beckworth trusts the research behind the new project.

“I really do like the ideas. I feel like if they know what they are doing financially. The ideas are great, and I’m looking forward for what is in store,” he said.

Paula Tanner, vice president for Communications and Special Projects, has helped in presenting the idea to the trustees and campus, which overall, has received positive feedback.

“The forums were presented in order to get feedback from faculty and staff, which was the first time for them to hear a lot about this,” she said. “A lot of it is still in flux because some of the big ideas were presented to the trustees in October.”

At this point, no official decision has been made.

“They were asked to enter into a season of prayer to think on these things and decide when they come in February how they feel we can proceed …. It’s an awfully big plan,” Tanner said.

O’Rear said, “Our campus community is really excited. I think it has energized our campus because our faculty, staff and students want to see progress. They want to see improvement, and see the campus provide the kind of facilities that our students, faculty and staff deserve.”

A map of the university shows campus additions proposed over the next five years. If everything is approved, the projects are expected to cost $70-80 million.  After new apartments, the priority will be brand new nursing building. (Courtesy Graphic)

A map of the university shows campus additions proposed over the next five years. If everything is approved, the projects are expected to cost $70-80 million. After new apartments, the priority will be brand new nursing building. (Courtesy Graphic)

Author: Andra Holbrooks

Andra is a senior Mass Communication/Journalism major from Aledo, TX. She is the Features Page Editor for The Bells. Andra loves spending time with her family, roommates and friends. Although her time at UMHB will soon come to an end, she will always hold the Crusader family dearly in her heart. Her adventure of becoming Features Editor for The Bells began in 2008. Being a writer was not a profession she ever imagined pursuing, but she is thankful for the opportunity God has given her to do so. She enjoys page designing and writing feature stories. After graduation in May, she hopes to use her degree by working for a magazine or reporting for a news station.

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