University Village in the Works


Johnny Espinoza, Staff Writer

In such effort to involve the Texas A&M University-Commerce housing in the neighborhood between Monroe and West Neal Streets south of the campus plans have been developed to take Commerce into a different level. Such plans have hope that it will increase the number of faculty and staff living in Commerce. Therefore, Commerce Mayor Wyman Williams has partnered up with A&M Commerce president Dr. Ray Keck to create such an environment where not only does its staff work in the university but live in Commerce as well.

“It’s a town that has a university and a university has a town,” Keck said. “The history of the relationship is intense and immediate and intimate.”

Williams explained how the housing will not only benefit the university but as well benefit Commerce as a whole. “Dr. Keck has been very open about discussions of possibly the university investing in housing that would be appropriate for university employees, and it would be become available by going ahead and building on a speculative basis and then actually selling them, which means they go back on the tax role for the city,” Williams said.

The goal is for their plain is, after the person is ready to sell the home, that the university can have the opportunity to buy the home back and be able to offer it to the next staff in line.  “I think the challenge is to create a residential community near the university that would be attractive to faculty and staff coming here,” Dr. Keck said. “The university would enter into a public-private partnership to acquire the property and then invite a developer to build the houses, the apartments, townhouses, single-family dwellings, a range of possibilities.”

Although there’s a lot of plans for the future for the city of Commerce and the university to evolve, there are a few things need to be done first. “As an immediate first step, the creation of a university village adjacent to campus populated by people who live and work at the university,” Dr. Keck said. “This would be the best single thing I think we could do right now to help the institution and help the city.

William expresses how this housing program is the foundation of our students and community coming together.  “The town benefits so much from leadership that these people offer to various organizations in town. It increases opportunities for students,” Williams said. “I like to think of it as creating an ideal learning community that would be so much fun for everyone to enjoy.”