McALLEN, RGV – Texas A&M University System Chancellor John Sharp will announce a new campus for McAllen this afternoon.
The campus, a satellite of Texas A&M College Station, will be built in the Tres Lagos subdivision in northwest McAllen. A news conference has been called for 3:30 p.m. today by the City of McAllen and Hidalgo County. It will be held in the city commission chambers at city hall.
A news advisory from the City of McAllen says an “historic announcement” and a “landmark declaration” will be made at the news conference. “The historic move will transform the region and enhance the quality of life in South Texas,” the advisory states.
McALLEN, RGV – State Sen. Juan Hinojosa has been involved in discussions to bring a campus to McAllen for some time. Hinojosa told the Rio Grande Guardian: “Education is the best equalizer. Texas A&M’s proposed teaching site in McAllen will provide more opportunities for our Valley residents.”
The McAllen Democrat said the teaching site will focus, at least initially, on agriculture, healthcare and engineering. “We need to keep expanding education to keep up with our growing populations that are demanding new facilities and opportunities for educational success. I look forward to working with Texas A&M in this new endeavor.”
Public discussion of the project first aired on KURV Radio’s Drive Home show on Monday afternoon, in a live on-air conversation between Rio Grande Guardian reporter Steve Taylor, and KURV’s Davis Rankin and Roxanne Garcia.
Texas A&M University System press officer Terry McDevitt did not return calls for comment on Monday.
McAllen Mayor Jim Darling and state Senator Hinojosa have been pushing hard for a university campus for McAllen. They hoped to secure the UT-Rio Grande Valley headquarters after land next to Doctors Hospital at Renaissance was offered for the project. UTRGV President Guy Bailey has yet to announce where his university’s HQ will go.
The Texas A&M College Station satellite campus for McAllen will not duplicate educational services currently provided by UTRGV, sources say.
Chancellor Sharp has been promising to expand the A&M footprint in the Rio Grande Valley for the past few years. Last November he announced that an engineering school would be built in Weslaco under the umbrella of Texas A&M University-Kingsville.
In order to facilitate the Texas A&M project in McAllen, the City of McAllen and Hidalgo County are revising a tax increment reinvestment zone agreement they have in place for Tres Lagos.
The initial Tres Lagos project involved a partnership between the City of McAllen and Rhodes Development to develop 3,000 acres for a planned community in northwest McAllen.
“With the Texas A&M campus and the master planned community it is going to be a very nice development, something the City of McAllen can be really proud of,” a source told the Rio Grande Guardian. “Chancellor Sharp, McAllen Mayor Jim Darling and Hidalgo County Judge Ramon Garcia deserve a lot of praise. It is going to be a great project.”