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Construction season at Texas Woman's University underway, plans for more in 2018

Two more construction projects are set to start this  month at Texas Woman's University, part of a six-item list of capital projects the university plans to tackle in the coming years. 

During a TWU Board of Regents meeting in Houston on Thursday, the capital improvement plan laid out all of the construction that will start on campus between this month and the end of 2018. 

Right now, construction is underway for a 600-space parking garage along Oakland Street, which is set to open in October, said BJ Crain, interim vice president for finance and administration. Next on the list will be a renovation of University Laboratory Building to add music rehearsal and art studio spaces, expected to start this month. Jones Hall will also start construction this month to add 12,000 square feet of student health services.

The biggest remodel project will be transforming 106,000 square feet of Hubbard Hall and adding another 19,000 square feet to make a new student union. David Sweeten, director of the union, walked regents through plans for the space that are near complete. 

"We've been sitting down with the students to find out what they wanted in their building," he said. "It's a student building and they paid for it, so we wanted to make sure we designed a building with the design characteristics they were wanting." 

There will be four food vendors inside, including a Chick-fil-A and Qdoba, a fast-casual Mexican food restaurant. They hope to add an Asian concept with sushi and a salad bar, and maybe a juice or smoothie bar, Sweeten said. 

There's going to be 21 private rooms students can use for meetings, two large ballrooms and an auditorium. There will be more modern features, like a game room with fooseball and ping pong, and a larger room for a veteran's lounge, Sweeten said. 

For the first time, the Student Government Association will have a full, official chamber. Other student groups also have an official space inside the new union, which should help elevate the student experience, Sweeten said. 

"They really don't have a space to come together and work right now, and so this 3,500-square-foot space will allow them to work not only with their own student organization but collaborate with other students organizations in a space they can call their own and that's very exciting," he said. 

Construction documents, which include the layouts for these spaces, are about 75 percent complete, Sweeten said. The project will be finalized to go out for a construction bid in the next month, he said. Construction is scheduled to begin in March, and the union is expected to open for the fall 2019 semester, Crain said. 

The regents will continue to meet Friday at the Houston campus. 

JENNA DUNCAN can be reached at 940-566-6889.

FEATURED PHOTO: Construction is underway for the West End Parking Garage at Texas Woman's University near Oakland Street and East 3rd Street. The three-story garage will open next October. Jeff Woo/DRC