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New parking lot, fresh floors in works at TWU

Profile image for By Jenna Duncan / Staff Writer
By Jenna Duncan / Staff Writer

When students return to Texas Woman’s University in the fall, there will be three renovated floors of Guinn Hall and a new parking lot in the works or completed.

University employees are planning to begin construction of a new parking lot at Pirtle and Frame streets this summer, adding an estimated 100 parking spaces, said Brenda Floyd, vice president for finance and administration.

A start date for the work has not been scheduled, so officials are unsure whether the lot will be open before the fall semester, Floyd said. The lot is southeast of the campus, in an area where the school has been acquiring property.

The university has notified area residents about the upcoming construction and has received only one question about the project, Floyd said.

The project will cost about $300,000 and use funds from unbudgeted interest earnings, Floyd said, and will help alleviate lot crowding during peak use hours.

“When we do have need — and we do at certain times — we’ve investigated several opportunities, and we found this to be in the closest proximity to the campus, therefore making it the best choice for students,” she said.

TWU regents approved the project at a June 7 meeting, along with the renovations at Guinn Hall.

Over the last several years, crews have renovated two or three floors of Guinn Hall each summer, and now the 24-story residence hall is more than 50 percent finished, said Richard Nicholas, vice president for student life.

Crews are removing old furniture that was built into the rooms, adding new light fixtures and flooring, painting the walls and adding new furniture. The staple pieces are the same — bed, desk, dresser and chair — but will not be fixed in place.

“Like a lot of old buildings back in those days, the furniture was built in,” Nicholas said. “Now students want and deserve new furniture that they can arrange in different ways.

“It gives you the chance to make your room your own.”

Half of one of the floors being renovated will be designated for the new Terry Scholars, 16 students who have been awarded full scholarships from the Terry Foundation. It is the first time TWU has had Terry Scholars, and the program requires its students to live in close quarters.

The other half of that floor will be additional space for the honors program, which has expanded, Nicholas said.

Construction began soon after spring graduation ceremonies. The Guinn Hall project had to be approved by the regents because it will be paid for out of TWU’s auxiliary fund balance. The estimated cost is $490,000.

The project is in the demolition phase and a little ahead of schedule, Nicholas said. Crews are removing tiles and preparing the walls for paint. Construction will be completed by the start of the fall semester so students can move in.

JENNA DUNCAN can be reached at 940-566-6889 and via Twitter at @JennaFDuncan.