University Projects On-Track To Enhance Campus

Todd Kleiboer, Co-Editor

With Phase 3 finished and the groundwork for the Nursing and Health Science Building being laid, A&M-Commerce still has several more projects, big and small, underway.

“We have a ton of projects that are always going on,” Director of Safety and Risk Management Derek Preas said. “There’s a lot of things in the pipeworks, so we’ve got a lot of vision for the campus. I’m sure we’ll be busy for the next five, six, seven years. There’s probably 300 small projects going on around campus.”

According to Preas, the School of Agriculture is revitalizing the agricultural farm areas along Highway 24, an effort that might take several months.

“We’re helping them get fences cleaned up so our livestock can be cared for, beautify the areas out there, and getting rid of some of the things that we’ve had for a very long time,” Preas said. “Hopefully, by this time next year, when you’re driving into Commerce, you’re going to know you’ve hit Commerce because you’re going to have this immaculate-looking farm area out there.”

The campus shuttle program, now going into its second year, has new leadership in the form of David Morgan who has updated the program in its outreach to students.

“He’s got a new online app [RideHop] that shows the shuttle route and shows where the shuttle is in real time, and it seems to be that more students are taking advantage of it this semester,” Preas said. “Compared to previous semesters, it’s a better semester for the shuttle right now.”

Although no walls are built yet because of preliminary foundation work, there are currently no delays to the Nursing and Health Science Building.

“We’ll see what the winter brings us, and by April or May next year we’ll have a really good idea if we’re going to be on time or not,” Preas said. “Once the walls start going up, you can pretty much schedule everything.”

Although finished by Move-In Day on Aug. 23, Phase 3 had originally been scheduled to open in mid-July, and these delays had resulted from rainy weather, late shipment arrivals, and foundation reworking.

“In the world of construction, the delays that the building experienced were not necessarily abnormal. We didn’t want them, but they happened,” Preas said. “We’re still working on some punch list items with it right now.”

Preas’ department also assists in supporting the athletic department by preparing the stadium for the crowds, and the home opener on Sept. 9 will be a major test for the department as they prepare the seating, concession, and other features.

“We get to have the honor to assist athletics in their endeavor,” Preas said. “It’s awesome to be part of a department that can not only do construction or take part of management on campus but also get to help athletics.”