Home » Featured Stories, News » Blinn Stops Construction On West Bryan Campus To Move To A&M System’s RELLIS Location

Blinn Stops Construction On West Bryan Campus To Move To A&M System’s RELLIS Location

Blinn College trustees have unanimously approved stopping construction of a new campus in west Bryan.

Instead, a new academic building will be located on the former Texas A&M Riverside campus, which is being converted into the RELLIS research and development center.

After meeting behind closed doors for one hour Tuesday morning, trustees offered no comments and asked no questions in public before either vote.

Trustees also had no comment on the future of 95 acre tract at Harvey Mitchell Parkway and Leonard Road that was purchased last year for the stand alone campus.

There will be no change in the interior layout of the academic building. The exterior will look different to accommodate the A&M system’s design. The academic building will accommodate 2,500 students as originally designed.

Instead of opening in the fall of 2017, Blinn’s new building is projected to open in the fall of 2018.

Blinn will pay the A&M system $1 per year to lease 15 acres on the former Bryan air base. The length of the lease has not been determined.

Blinn plans to develop additional STEM (science, technology, engineering, & mathematics) and other ore curriculum offerings, and expand its workforce, technical, and research programs.

Blinn also plans to partner with “other organizations and institutions located on the RELLIS campus, including high-end, innovative, private research and development companies, the Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station (TEES), and the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service (TEEX).”

Blinn previously planned to spend $46.5 million dollars on its stand alone campus. The cost of the RELLIS location is a minimum $24 to $31 million due to saving the expense of building infrastructure, including water and electric lines.

Blinn administrators estimate “investing” approximately $4.8 million dollars on the west Bryan campus. Approximately $1 million of those expenses will be transferred to the new location.

Blinn’s contracts with Vaughn Construction and Kirksey Architecture will be amended to reflect the change in locations.

Click HERE to read and download the stop order on building Blinn’s west Bryan campus.

Click HERE to read and download Blinn’s memorandum of understanding with the Texas A&M system.

Click below for comments from Blinn president Mary Hensley and Texas A&M system chief financial officer Billy Hamilton.

053116-Mary-Hensley-and-Billy-Hamilton.mp3

 

Blinn College trustees meeting May 31, 2016 in Brenham, with trustee Ann Horton participating by video stream from El Salvador.

Blinn College trustees meeting May 31, 2016 in Brenham, with trustee Ann Horton participating by video stream from El Salvador.

News conference participants (L-R) Blinn president Mary Hensley, Texas A&M system chief financial officer Billy Hamilton, and Blinn students Michael Florer of Brenham, Ricky Lanclos of Sealy, and Caesar Martinez of Sugar Land.

News conference participants (L-R) Blinn president Mary Hensley, Texas A&M system chief financial officer Billy Hamilton, and Blinn students Michael Florer of Brenham, Ricky Lanclos of Sealy, and Caesar Martinez of Sugar Land.

RELLIS Campus Frequently Asked Questions from Blinn’s website:

Where is the RELLIS Campus?

The RELLIS Campus, currently known as the Texas A&M Riverside Campus, is located adjacent to State Highway 47 and Highway 21.

How will being located at the RELLIS Campus benefit Blinn students?

The new campus will allow students to transfer seamlessly to leading universities throughout The Texas A&M System once academic agreements with the individual universities are in place. The site also creates opportunities for Blinn to partner with other organizations and institutions located on the RELLIS Campus, including high-end, innovative, private research and development companies, the Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station (TEES), and the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service (TEEX).

What else will be located at the RELLIS Campus?

The campus initially will include a cluster of seven new buildings and test beds to allow the private sector to develop secure research facilities adjacent to the System’s site. The focus will include robotics, driverless and connected vehicles, advanced manufacturing, large-scale testing, as well as smart power grids and water systems. An education center will offer four-year degrees to students not admitted to Texas A&M University through affiliations with other universities in The Texas A&M System.

Where will Blinn be located on the RELLIS Campus?

Blinn and The Texas A&M System are currently working together to identify options for Blinn’s exact location at the RELLIS Campus.

Will the property allow for future campus expansion?

The Texas A&M System will provide Blinn a tract of approximately 15 acres to build academic and related support services facilities, and provides the opportunity for future development.

What is the construction timeline for the RELLIS Campus?

A timeline for RELLIS Campus development has yet to be determined, but Blinn plans to open the campus in 2018.

Where does the RELLIS Campus get its name?

The RELLIS Campus is named for the Texas Aggies’ core values of respect, excellence, leadership, loyalty, integrity, and selfless service.

What academic programs will Blinn include at the RELLIS Campus?

The new campus location will allow Blinn to develop additional science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and other core curriculum offerings, and expand its workforce, technical, and research programs.

How will Blinn pay for the RELLIS Campus?

The total estimated cost of the initial facility on the RELLIS Campus is $24-31 million as compared to the $46.5 million planned for the Harvey Mitchell Parkway site. This range includes soft costs and construction costs, and does not include any possible shared costs associated with parking, landscaping, or re-design due to costs associated with Texas A&M System construction and architectural standards. RELLIS Campus development will use existing bond revenue, and taxpayer money will not be utilized.

How much money did Blinn invest in the 851 Harvey Mitchell Parkway property before deciding to relocate its next campus at RELLIS?

Blinn College has invested approximately $4.8 million at the property at 851 Harvey Mitchell Parkway. An exact cost can be determined by Vaughn Construction Company now that the stop work order is in place and Blinn can receive final costs from the contractor and subcontractors. Approximately $1 million of these expenses will be transferrable to work associated with the RELLIS Campus. Blinn anticipates experiencing reduced infrastructure and utility obligations, and other lower or avoidable costs as a result of the move to the RELLIS Campus.

How will developing facilities on the RELLIS Campus help Blinn minimize infrastructure costs?

Locating at the RELLIS Campus creates the opportunity for shared facilities that could allow Blinn to save on infrastructure costs and create efficiencies of operation. Additionally, the RELLIS Campus will not require Blinn to pay for new water and utility lines to the site. Major infrastructure components will be provided by The Texas A&M System.

How many students and employees will the RELLIS Campus accommodate?

While plans have not been finalized, Blinn anticipates the RELLIS Campus facility will accommodate approximately 2,500 students, matching estimates for the planned academic facility at 851 Harvey Mitchell Parkway.

How much will Blinn pay the Texas A&M System to be located at the RELLIS Campus? How long is the lease?

The Texas A&M System and Blinn will seek to execute a long-term ground lease for the Blinn tract with ground lease payments set at $1 per annum. The term of the ground lease is the subject of current conversations between Blinn and The Texas A&M System.

What will Blinn do with the property it purchased at 851 Harvey Mitchell Parkway?

The Blinn College Board of Trustees has not begun a discussion of its future plans for the property.

Will there be sufficient transportation services at the RELLIS Campus?

The Texas A&M System intends to provide transportation services from the Texas A&M main campus to RELLIS and will collaborate with Blinn and the City of Bryan regarding transportation services from Blinn’s main Bryan campus to RELLIS.

Where can I learn about The Texas A&M University System’s plans for the RELLIS Campus?

The Texas A&M University System released the following announcement in May regarding its plans to invest $150 million to make the RELLIS Campus a new research, development, and education campus: http://today.tamu.edu/2016/05/02/chancellor-john-sharp-announces-150-million-research-campus-and-education-center-at-former-bryan-air-base/.

News release from Blinn College:

The Blinn College Board of Trustees unanimously approved a Memorandum of Understanding with The Texas A&M University System at its meeting today to build a facility at the newly announced RELLIS Campus, formerly Riverside Campus.

The Board also approved a stop work order to halt construction on its property at 851 N. Harvey Mitchell Parkway in Bryan.

John Sharp, Chancellor of The Texas A&M University System, recently unveiled plans to invest $150 million to create a new research and development campus to help companies move ideas from the laboratory to the marketplace while also offering a new path toward a college degree. One aspect of the RELLIS Campus plan involves the development of a multi-institutional Gateway Education Center that will provide space for Texas A&M System member institutions and Blinn to offer a variety of curricula.

The new campus establishes a new educational community combining a major university system and a community college at a single physical location. This co-location will allow Blinn College students to transfer seamlessly to leading universities throughout The Texas A&M System in the years to come.

The site also creates opportunities for Blinn to partner with other organizations and institutions located on the RELLIS Campus, including high-end, innovative, private research and development companies, the Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station (TEES), and the Texas A&M Engineering Extension Service (TEEX).

“Blinn College’s participation is a welcome component to this new, transformative education model we call RELLIS,” Chancellor Sharp said. “We are excited to work with Blinn to ensure that high-achieving students across the state have additional pathways to their educational and career goals.”

Located adjacent to State Highway 47 and Highway 21, the RELLIS Campus is named for the Texas Aggies’ core values of respect, excellence, leadership, loyalty, integrity, and selfless service.

“The RELLIS Campus places the Texas A&M System and the Blinn College District at the forefront of innovative partnerships between research universities and community colleges,” said David Sommer, Blinn College Board President. “It is an honor to partner with one of the nation’s top university systems to develop new educational opportunities for our students.”

“This partnership will allow Blinn College students to learn cutting-edge, high-demand skills in an environment that encourages collaboration between public institutions and private companies,” said Dr. Mary Hensley, Blinn District President/CEO. “The vision for the RELLIS Campus represents the future of Texas higher education.”

Blinn and the Texas A&M System are currently exploring sites on the Rellis Campus for Blinn’s facility. The Texas A&M System will provide Blinn a tract of approximately 15 acres to build academic and related support services facilities. Blinn will be responsible for the cost of construction, as well as the cost of all utility services, maintenance, and insurance for its facilities. The Texas A&M System and Blinn will seek to execute a long-term ground lease for the Blinn tract with ground lease payments set at $1 per annum.

While plans have not been finalized, Blinn anticipates the RELLIS Campus facility will accommodate approximately 2,500 students, matching estimates for the planned academic facility at 851 Harvey Mitchell Parkway. A timeline for RELLIS Campus development is not yet established, but Blinn plans to open the campus in 2018.

“As Texas employers seek graduates with sophisticated critical thinking and problem-solving skills, innovative partnerships between universities and community colleges enhance the student experience and create operational efficiencies that result in more affordable prices,” said Raymund Paredes, Commissioner of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board.

Blinn College has invested approximately $4.8 million at the property at 851 Harvey Mitchell Parkway. An exact cost can be determined by Vaughn Construction Company now that the stop work order is in place and Blinn can receive final costs from the contractor and subcontractors. Approximately $1 million of these expenses will be transferrable to work associated with the RELLIS Campus, and Blinn anticipates experiencing reduced infrastructure and utility obligations, and other lower or avoidable costs as a result of the move to the RELLIS Campus.

The total estimated cost of the initial facility on the RELLIS Campus is $24-31 million as compared to the $46.5 million planned for the Harvey Mitchell Parkway site. This range includes soft costs and construction costs, and does not include any possible shared costs associated with parking, landscaping, or re-design due to costs associated with Texas A&M System construction and architectural standards. RELLIS Campus development will use existing bond revenue, and taxpayer money will not be utilized.

Blinn College and Texas A&M University have a proud history of developing innovative partnerships. Since 2001, the Texas A&M-Blinn TEAM (Transfer Enrollment at A&M) Program has served as the nation’s model for a collaborative, co-enrollment partnership between a major university and a community college. The TEAM Program has allowed thousands of additional qualified students to earn their degree from Texas A&M while enjoying the benefits of enrollment at both institutions, and in 2014 the program received the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board’s coveted Star Award as one of the top educational initiatives in Texas.

Texas A&M and Blinn built upon the TEAM Program’s success with the Texas A&M Engineering Academy at Blinn-Bryan and the Texas A&M Engineering Academy at Blinn-Brenham, offering students additional pathways to pursue an engineering degree from Texas A&M and helping to meet the nationwide demand for highly skilled engineering graduates.

Short URL: http://wtaw.com/?p=105987

Posted by on May 31 2016. Filed under Featured Stories, News.

© 2017 WTAW. All Rights Reserved. Log in

-