Texas A&M Regents Approves $54 Million Expenditure At WTAMU – The Amarillo Pioneer – The Amarillo Pioneer | Team Cansler

The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents approved two major infrastructure projects at West Texas A&M University on November 10th.

During the November 10 meeting of Regents, approval was granted for the $44.9 million Geneva Schaeffer Education Building renovation and the $8.9 million Bain Athletic Center expansion project.

“First-class academic and sporting facilities are part of what makes WT exemplary,” said WT President Walter V. Wendler after the regents’ vote. “Providing our students with the facilities they need to thrive contributes to both their teaching and their athletic achievements. We are grateful for dedicated alumni who continue to give back to Panhandle’s University.”

regent approved more than $328 million in investment projects about the system.

The Education Building, the second oldest building on WT’s campus, is being redesigned as a space that will place WT at the forefront of distance learning innovation.

“Our goal with the Geneva Schaeffer Education Building is to be a pioneer in the next phase of distance learning, whether it’s in virtual reality or in advances we’re not even aware of,” said Dr. Neil Terry, Provost and Executive Vice President, Academic Affairs. “Our goal is to be as innovative as possible, and the building will be the vehicle that will drive those advances.”

The number of WT online courses has increased from 533 to 1,726 in the 10-year span between the 2001-02 and 2020-21 academic years. As part of the university’s long-term plan WT 125: From the Panhandle to the WorldWT expects to increase online student enrollment to at least 7,500 students, ultimately accounting for approximately 50 percent of total university enrollment.

The revitalization of the Geneva Schaeffer Education Building will allow for additional video studios, production studios for online courses, and support rooms.

The building will also be the new home of the WT Graduate School in recognition of the significant growth it has achieved over the past five years. Planned are new research rooms and new areas to connect with off-campus students and potential new students.

The university is in the process of selecting an architecture firm and construction company for the ambitious project.

In October 2021WT announced that it has been allocated $45 million from Senate Bill 52, which earmarked $3.35 billion for Texas higher education investment projects.

In February, the Schaeffer family announced a $2.5 million gift to rename the building in honor of their late matriarch, who attended elementary school classes in the building in the 1940s when it housed a demonstration school where educators a received practical training as teachers. Schaeffer received her bachelor’s degree from WT in 1955, and in April 2016 she received an honorary doctorate in philosophy from WT’s Terry B. Rogers College of Education and Social Sciences. She was a public school teacher for 17 years, spent decades campaigning for improvements and opportunities in education, and was a driving force in fundraising for the university.

Along with Bain-Schaeffer Buffalo Stadium, the Bain Athletic Center serves as the cornerstone of excellence for WT Athletics, unmatched in the Lone Star Conference, Division II NCAA Athletics and the State of Texas.

The Athletic Center facility, the vision of longtime WT supporters Ray and Barbara Bain, is in Phase III of construction. Upon completion, the facility will house sports services, sports medicine, soccer and Olympic sports offices, academic achievement programs, team meeting rooms and the Hall of Champions.

Completion of the center will allow for a central location for WT Athletics coaches, staff and student workers, who currently occupy offices in eight different buildings across campus.

“The completion of the Bain Athletic Center is critical to maintaining the anticipated success of the athletic program,” said WT Athletic Director Michael McBroom. “This expansion will provide modern office space for administrators and trainers, add academic and meeting rooms for teams, and allow the program to develop a culture of collaboration and support that is critical to most successful organizations.”

WT Athletics has been ranked Best in Texas by the National Association of College Directors of Athletics Directors’ Cup Rankings for seven consecutive years and is recognized annually as one of the top 10 athletic programs in the NCAA Division II.

Ray Bain attended WT and then became President of the First State Bank of Dimmitt in 1985. In 1987 he joined forces with Stanley Schaeffer and a small group of investors to buy the bank that became known as First United Bank in 1994. Today, the bank has grown to 17 locations in 13 west Texas cities. Bain died in 2013; Schaeffer currently serves as director emeritus.

Barbara Bain, a 1960 graduate, received an honorary doctorate in philosophy in education in 2019.

When completed, the Bain Athletic Center will be west of Bain-Schaeffer Buffalo Stadium and the WT running and soccer facility.

In addition, funding approved for the Geneva Schaeffer Education Building project includes nearly $10 million for campus-wide health and safety improvements using funds from Capital Construction Assistance Projects approved by the 87th Legislature.

those of the university WT125 The plan is fueled by the historic $125 million A west extensive fundraiser. To date, the five-year campaign, which publicly launched in September 2021, has raised more than $110 million.

-West Texas A&M University

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