ABILENE - A year of transformation may be ahead for a number of Abilene-area college campuses, from the biggest to the smallest.
With new buildings popping up, new football stadiums under construction, renovated recital halls, higher education is changing.
Abilene Christian University (ACU): When work picks up on ACU's new Wildcat Stadium, this campus will have the most activity, construction-wise, on a single campus this coming year.
Wildcat Stadium will serve as a 12,000-seat home to the school's football team. It is expected to open for games in the 2017 season and replaces the former Elmer Gray Stadium on Ambler Ave.
ACU has been hard at work building a new science laboratory facility, part of the school's $75 million Vision in Action initiative—which also includes the football stadium.
Expected to open for the spring 2017 semester, the Halbert-Walling Research Center, a 54,000-sf research and science office facility, will allow the university to upgrade its Robert R. and Kay Onstead Science Center, formerly the Foster Sciences Building, for a 2017 completion.
Just off the school's main campus on East North 19th St., renovation of the former Christian Village is expected to be complete in August. The project is expected to turn the 81,775-sf, three-story facility into an apartment residence for up to 180 students.
Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center (TTUHSC): Driving on Pine St. past the TTUHSC campus, it becomes obvious there's something big happening. There's a new building being constructed.
When it's finished, the 40,000-sf structure will house a student union for the three major schools on campus, which includes the School of Public Health.
Phil Wicker, director of development at the Abilene campus, said the building is on schedule and expected to be complete by late July 2016 in time to open for classes in August.
Hardin-Simmons University (HSU): People, not places, are the biggest change at HSU.
The largest shake-up comes not in new buildings or renovation of existing ones—which there certainly has been—but of a change in leadership that could have an effect on projects and the school's makeup heading into the future.
New man on campus: Eric Bruntmyer, who is finishing his role as vice president for financial affairs and chief financial officer at Dallas Baptist University, will take over not just running the HSU but also completing the school's Transformation 2020 campaign.
Its goal is to build new buildings and renovate existing ones.
Bruntmyer needs to sign off on much of the proposed work before it can begin, including plans for the Wilkins Wellness Center where both the Streich Tennis Center and Marston Gym currently stand.
Source: Abilene Reporter News