Home » Featured Stories, News » Texas A&M Opens One Ag Building, Groundbreaking On A Second, And Update On The Hotel & Conference Center By Kyle Field

Texas A&M Opens One Ag Building, Groundbreaking On A Second, And Update On The Hotel & Conference Center By Kyle Field

Two weeks after Texas A&M’s college of agriculture opened its new $32.5 million dollar Wildlife, Fisheries, and Ecological Sciences building, groundbreaking takes place on a new Plant Pathology and Microbiology building. The $49 million dollar structure, located between the Horticulture/Forest Science Building and the Rosenthal Meat Science and Technology Center, is scheduled to be completed by May 2019.

Still under construction, is the A&M system’s $143 million dollar hotel and conference center just north of Kyle Field. Monday was the first day those who can afford a $100,000 dollar donation could apply to participate in an auction for the 50 best rooms and a lottery for the remaining 200 guest rooms.

Details on all three projects are below, courtesy of news releases from Texas A&M and the A&M system.

Groundbreaking of the Plant Pathology and Microbiology building:

Ground was broken on the Texas A&M University West Campus in College Station Thursday for a $49 million Plant Pathology and Microbiology building, scheduled to be completed by May 2019.

“This building will help us to address our grand challenges of feeding our world, protecting our environment, enriching our youth, improving our health and growing our economy,” said Dr. Mark Hussey, vice chancellor and dean of agriculture and life sciences at Texas A&M.

When the building is completed, 13 of the 14 departments of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences will be on the West Campus, Hussey noted. In 2008, an effort began to centralize all of the agriculture and life science components. Four new buildings have been added as a result.

“What makes these buildings special is that they serve as a central home for one of Texas A&M’s founding colleges and as a statewide hub for our agricultural agencies,” he added. “Together, our more than 4,800 employees touch the lives of Texans and beyond.”

The plant pathology and microbiology department dates to more than 100 years ago when Dr. J.J. Taubenhaus was hired in 1916 to be Texas A&M’s first plant pathologist. The department now has more than 35 faculty located on campus and around the state at Texas A&M AgriLife Research and Extension centers.

Dr. Sandy Pierson, plant pathology and microbiology department head, said plant pathology and microbiology faculty perform research on a wide diversity of plant-microbe interactions, including plant immunity, biocontrol, pathogenicity mechanisms, plant signaling and volatiles, mycotoxins, programmed cell death and biofuels.

“Through these approaches, we hope to better understand how the plant microbial community — its ‘microbiome’ — determines crop health and the plant’s ability to resist stresses such as disease, drought, poor water quality and low soil nutrients,” Pierson said.

The new building will feature classrooms and a “front porch” on the first floor. The 84,000-square-foot building will consist of a four-story laboratory wing and a three-story teaching and departmental office wing, Hussey said.

Pierson said programs leading to careers in plant pathology, microbiology and bioenvironmental sciences are offered through the department. Additionally, graduate students may specialize in such areas as plant microbiology, genomics, disease management, microbial ecology and molecular plant-microbe interactions.

“A central theme of the new building is ‘Science on Display.’ This building will greatly increase our ability to compete and perform world-class research in plant pathology. It will also enhance our student’s educational experiences — from the 300-seat 21st-century lecture hall to the plant pathology and microbiology teaching laboratories to the bioenvironmental sciences experiential learning laboratory and our modern research laboratories and rooftop greenhouses,” Pierson said. “These facilities will enhance the recruitment and training of the plant pathologists and environmental specialists needed to allow Texas to grow economically while maintaining environmental sustainability.”

Michael Jochum Jr., a current plant pathology and microbiology graduate student, said the building will help him and other students delve even more deeply into their major.
“With the help of erudite scholars of the department, my eyes have been opened to advanced concepts in molecular biology and plant pathology,” said Jochum, who is studying beneficial microorganisms to increase drought tolerance in grasses along with the use of unmanned aerial vehicle-based imagery in rice cropping systems. “I am now using these concepts to push the boundaries of known science and gain insight into the inner complexities of the microbiome. “This building will stand as a flagship and proud symbol of all our hard work to develop and pass on knowledge to the next generation of environmental professionals and academic scholars.”

The building will be located between the Horticulture/Forest Science Building and the Rosenthal Meat Science and Technology Center.

Image of the Plant Pathology and Microbiology building provided by Texas A&M AgriLife.

 

Opening of the Wildlife, Fisheries, and Ecological Sciences building:

Sept. 15 marked the grand opening of the new Wildlife, Fisheries and Ecological Sciences Building at 534 John Kimbrough Blvd. on the Texas A&M University West Campus.

Dr. Mark Hussey, vice chancellor and dean of agriculture and life sciences at Texas A&M, College Station, said the $32.5 million building is the fourth to be constructed in the Agriculture and Life Sciences complex, a group of buildings housing staff “dedicated to feeding our world, protecting our environment, enriching our youth, improving our health and growing our economy.

“In September 1937, the Texas A&M University department of wild game was founded. Eighty years later, we open a state-of-the-art facility to continue eight decades of outstanding teaching, research and Extension outreach,” he said.

Dr. Michael Masser, wildlife and fisheries department head, said the opening will mark the first time all of the department’s faculty, staff and students are together in the same building since the 1970s.

“The building will bring more collegiality, cohesiveness and collaboration to the department,” Masser said. “The new building represents a major investment in our department and the ecological sciences department and will provide opportunities for increased research and the opportunity to attract new faculty and students because of the greatly enhanced facility.”

Dr. Kathleen Kavanagh, ecological sciences department head, said about one-third of her faculty will be located in the new building. They will gain high-end computing facilities for research and teaching, as well as four new labs for studies on global water modeling, wetland ecology, remote sensing, climate change biology and paleobiogeography.

The facility, Hussey said, includes two floors of state-of-the-art laboratories and 80,000 total square feet of space.

“Like the other buildings in the complex, it is built to LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) silver standards. The building also connects to our rainwater capture system, which underscores our commitment to sustainability.

“A building constructed with sustainability in mind is a perfect home to two departments that work on the broad spectrum of environmental, ecology, wildlife and rangeland issues.”
Hussey said the wildlife and fisheries department combined program is the largest in the U.S. Additionally, the impact of the ecosystem science and management department is felt throughout the state with its faculty educating some 9,000 citizens at a number of educational events over the past year.

“This building gets us even closer to our ultimate goal of moving our departments together onto the West Campus,” Hussey said. “But what makes these buildings special is that they serve as a central home for one of Texas A&M’s founding colleges, the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, and as a statewide hub for our agricultural agencies, the Texas A&M AgriLife Extension Service and Texas A&M AgriLife Research, whose 5,000 employees touch the lives of Texans daily. We live the land grant mission of close integration of teaching, research, Extension and service – and this complex is a commitment to continue that legacy into the future.”

The formal festivities ended with an official ribbon-cutting ceremony followed by a tour of the facility.

Photo of the Texas A&M Wildlife, Fisheries and Ecological Sciences building from John Chivvis of Texas A&M AgriLife Communications.

 

Update on the new Texas A&M system’s hotel and conference center:

Football games in Aggieland (along with pre-game and post-game activities) are about to get more fun … and a lot more convenient.

Starting September 23, Fightin’ Texas Aggie fans and campus visitors will have the ability to place their deposits for a chance to secure guest room options at the new Texas A&M Hotel and Conference Center that is being built across the street from Kyle Field, opening in the fall of 2018. The options, which start at donations of $100,000, will be valid for 10 years and will give holders the right to book hotel rooms or suites of their own at the Texas A&M Hotel and Conference Center for home football games – or for any other day of the year.

The guest room options provide consistent and dependable access to the closest hotel to Kyle Field and one of the most comfortable properties in the region. Just 96 yards from the gate of the stadium, the new 252,500 square-foot Texas A&M Hotel and Conference Center will be eight stories tall and feature over 35,000 square feet of meeting and event space that includes an 8,300-square foot ballroom capable of accommodating 650 guests.

The hotel also will include a swimming pool, full-service restaurant, wine bar, coffee shop, gym, business center and a multi-level sports bar with indoor and outdoor space. The 250 guest rooms will have luxury amenities and will be decorated in Texas A&M’s colors of maroon and white with accents of gray.

Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp said the hotel and conference center will not only provide easy access to Aggie sporting events, but it also promises to help the University recruit talented students, world-class professors and top-tier staff.

“The new Texas A&M University Hotel and Conference Center will be a phenomenal addition to campus,” Chancellor Sharp said. “This will be a one-of-a-kind hotel that will benefit fans and the overall student experience at our great university.”

Anyone in the general public will have an equal shot at receiving a guest room option for one of the standard rooms, the Chancellor said.

Options for corporations and other individuals also will be available. Thirty-six “Century Level” rooms, 11 suites and two penthouses will be offered through an online auction.

Former students and fans will be able to secure a spot in the online auction or lottery beginning September 23. The date of the auction and lottery will be announced later in the Fall.
Here are some details on the process:

• Suites and “Century Level” Guest Rooms. To qualify for a suite or “Century Level” guest room option, prospective option holders will make a $10,000 deposit that will apply to the total donation. The suites and guest rooms will be distributed via an online auction on a platform similar to those found on popular charitable auction websites. Two penthouses, 11 suites and 36 eighth floor guest rooms will be available at auction.

• Standard Rooms. To qualify for a room option for the remaining rooms in the hotel, prospective option holders will make a $5,000 deposit. Those who enter the lottery will be randomly selected and will choose their room based on the order they are drawn. All lottery winners will make the same donation of $100,000 for these rooms. The deposit will apply to the total donation.

If prospective option holders do not win a room in the auction or are not selected in the lottery, they may choose to join the waiting list or receive a deposit refund.

Other universities in the Southeastern Conference, or SEC, have sold similar options at campus hotels, but none of the other schools’ facilities will compare to the Texas A&M University Hotel and Conference Center in terms of proximity to sporting events and amenities.

Chancellor Sharp said that the hotel and conference center is an example of how a public-private partnership can benefit the University, its students and the College Station area for years to come.

Proceeds from hotel operations will be invested in education, research and service.

The hotel will be operated by Aggie-owned Benchmark Hospitality International. Benchmark, based in The Woodlands, is known for excellence, innovation and extraordinary guest service.

To see renderings, watch a video and learn more about property features, hotel amenities, and the option process, visit tamuhcc.com. People interested in more information can also use the link to sign up to be on the email list for regular updates. Prospective suite/room option holders will receive detailed information about the process including what steps must be taken to participate.

Photo of the south side of the Texas A&M hotel and conference center, September 14, 2017, from WTAW’s Chelsea Reber.

 

Photo from the southwest corner of the Texas A&M hotel and conference center, September 14, 2017, from WTAW’s Chelsea Reber.

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Posted by on Sep 29 2017. Filed under Featured Stories, News.

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