RIO GRANDE CITY, TX (December 15, 2016) – South Texas College held a ceremonial groundbreaking ceremony for its $24 million Starr County Campus expansion on Dec. 15. While construction is already underway, leaders at STC said it was important to commemorate how education is making a positive impact in communities in the western portions of the Rio Grande Valley.
“This will open opportunities here that were simply not available to students in Starr County,” said STC President Dr. Shirley A. Reed. “We are just incredibly proud of the support Starr County gives us, and we know these opportunities will make an amazing difference for students here and for their families.”
The new construction at the campus includes an expanded Student Services Activities building, a thermal storage plant, and a new 18,000 square foot library that is double the size of the current facility. The current library will be renovated into a cultural arts center. New construction also includes a brand new 55,000 square foot Health Professions Science Center that will house Biology and Chemistry labs, computer facilities as well as simulation and skill labs for health professions.
In attendance at the ceremony were US Congressman Henry Cuellar, State Rep. Ryan Guillen, Starr County Judge Eloy Vera, Rio Grande City Mayor Joel Villarreal, Roma Mayor Roberto A. Salinas, and other distinguished guests.
“This was only a seed years ago,” Cuellar said. “Now, look at what you are doing through a bond issue. Everyone here had a dream of bringing higher education to Starr County, and this is what South Texas College has done. They have brought the dream to so many young folks here, and lot of them are first time college students.
I just want to talk about the dream that got started here many years ago, Dr. Reed and the board members who have been here, who have done this,” Cuellar said. “I stand here, and I want to help you in any way, and I want to be part of the community here in Starr County.”
Construction is scheduled for completion in late 2017. Funding for the project will come from the $159 million bond election passed by voters back in 2013. This is the second in a series of groundbreakings planned at STC’s five campuses in Hidalgo and Starr counties. The expansions at each campus will enable the college to accommodate its growing student enrollment, expected to reach 42,000 by the year 2020.
“Unemployment has dropped here in Starr County, our educational attainment has increased, and a lot of that has to do with the fact there are educational opportunities in this community,” said STC Trustee Rose Benavidez, who represents Starr County. “This is a signal of hope and signal of change. It’s a signal of letting people know that the opportunities are there, and it our job to ensure everyone has access. STC will continue to transform this community and turn it into the place we all want to live in, and we want future generations to be part of that.”
Architects for construction and expansion include Mata+Garcia Architects LLP and D. Wilson Construction Co.
To learn more about projects planned at each South Texas College campus, visit www.southtexascollege.edu/bondconstruction.
Below is a link for photos from the event. Password is: expansion