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The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

The Student News Site of Texas A&M University - College Station

The Battalion

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Preliminary plans offer look at possible West Campus living

On-campus living during the first year of college is considered by some to be a wonderful way to transition into college life. At A&M, students are limited to Corps housing, the Commons or one of the Northside dorms. That may change in the future with the possible addition of a West Campus dorm complex.
West Campus which includes Mays Business School, the veterinary college, agriculture programs, life sciences, the Bush School and a majority of the sporting facilities on campus currently has no living establishment for students. There are plans for the University to build dorm and apartment style living for students right behind the School of Rural and Public Health.
The plans are all conceptual at this point, said Chareny Rydl, director of residence life. Once there has been an official approval then we will have to go and put it on the capital plan and that would outline a time frame.
In the case that a plan is approved, it is estimated that construction would be a two-year process, with a conceptual budget of $150 million. The dorms would hold up to 3,100 students and would accommodate parking and dining as well.
Rydl said ideas were taken from both traditional residence halls and off-campus apartments during the planning process.
It would be similar to the Commons and like what is happening on Northside, and our hopes would be that it would target freshman, Rydl said. Statistics show that if students live on campus their first year, they have better GPRs, remain at the University and continue to go on to get advanced degrees. This would be supporting A&Ms goal to work on getting students out and retention at the University.
The location for the new dorms spans over the location of the Howdy! Farm, a student run and operated organic farm, whose goal is to enrich students time and resources through organic, sustainable and environmental farming.
This means the dorms would either have to integrate the farm with the location or the Howdy! Farm would have to relocate.
We would appreciate the farm being integrated with the planned structures, said Matthew Weintrub, senior horticulture major and Howdy! Farm field director. Student Senate even passed a bill requiring best efforts be made to integrate the farm into any planned structures.
Student Senates bill regarding the Howdy! Farm congratulated the farm on its success and requests that future buildings on West Campus do not negatively affect it.
Mark Womack, international affairs graduate student and executive vice president for the Student Government Association, said the bills purpose is to help sustain the Howdy! Farm and better integrate into campus life.
The hope is to not just build around it, but to find ways to integrate the Howdy! Farm into the living and learning environment on West Campus, Womack said. I am excited that campus is growing and have an understanding that construction might need to take place on the current location. So relocation [of the Howdy Farm] to another on-campus location is acceptable.
The ideas for the dorms are dependent on the approval process of the plans, but officials are hoping these West Campus dorms will feel just like the Commons on Main Campus.
We do not want to make these dorms feel isolated, Chareny said. We are hoping to do some things, as we build it, to make it feel a part of A&M and that they are connected. It is just an extension of campus, but we will not be able to do anything until it is approved.

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