SACS Principles of Accreditation
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Section V: COC Resources

3.10.7 The institution operates and maintains physical facilities, both on and off campus, that are adequate to serve the needs of the institution's educational programs, support services, and mission-related activities.




The University operates and maintains physical facilities, both on and off campus, that are adequate to serve the needs of the institution's educational programs, support services, and mission-related activities.

Adequacy of Facilities

The University was established in 1970 as an upper level institution, and for 15 years was located on the same campus as Laredo Community College. In 1995, the University was expanded to a full four-year university and moved to a new campus in northeast Laredo. This was the first, four-year public university campus to be constructed in more than 20 years in the State of Texas.

Construction of the first four buildings of the campus began in February 1994 on the 300-acre site donated by the Killam family. The official ground-breaking ceremony was held on February, 19, 1994. The first day of classes on campus was held on September 4, 1995. Phase I included the Killam Library Building, Bullock Hall, Cowart Hall and the Central Plant. Phase II was dedicated on February 21, 1997. Phase II consisted of Canseco Hall, Pellegrino Hall, the Kinesiology Convocation Building, and the Physical Plant. Phase III construction began in the spring of 2001 and included the Student Development Center, the Center for the Study of Western Hemispheric Trade, the Fine and Performing Arts Center, and the Intramural Fields. Construction of Phase IV began in August of 2003, and is scheduled for completion in the spring of 2005. Phase IV includes the 79,000 square foot Science Building and an expansion to the original central plant. The University is currently in the design phase for Phase V, which will include the expansion of the Kinesiology Convocation Building and fields. The University works closely with the community and The Texas A&M University System to develop physical facilities in line with the remarkable growth of the University. (Construction Fact Sheet, 2003)

As of Fall 2004, the University operates 12 buildings on its 300-acre campus located at 5201 University Boulevard in Laredo, Texas 78041-1900. The campus buildings are constructed on approximately 120 improved acres. The University operates 337,248 square feet of assignable space housed in 671,643 gross square feet. Of the University’s assignable space, 261,802 is defined as Educational and General space. The Science building will add 79,000 square feet to the University infrastructure. At the present time the only off campus space operated by the University is a small outreach office maintained on the Laredo Community College campus.

Classrooms are housed across the campus and include large lecture halls that seat 100 or more students, smaller lecture style halls that will seat 50-60 students, medium sized flexible seating classrooms that accommodate 30-40 students, and small seminar style classrooms for 10-20 students. One medium sized classroom is even housed in the Physical Plant building.

The main classroom building is Bob Bullock Hall. It contains one large lecture hall that seats 166 students, five smaller lecture halls, 16 medium-sized classrooms, and one specialized laboratory. A satellite food-service facility, Bene Pizza, is also housed here.

The main laboratory building is Cowart Hall. It contains seven medium classrooms and 15 specialized computer or science laboratories. There are six additional science laboratories in Canseco Hall. Science laboratories support course offerings in biology, chemistry, physics, geology, and environmental science. These laboratories seat 16-24 students in each lab section. With enrollment growth, the need for increased laboratory space has become evident. At present the need is met by increasing the number of laboratory sections offered in popular courses such as Anatomy and Physiology and General Biology. The opening of the new 79,000 square foot Science Building in Spring 2005 will add additional laboratories and provide research laboratories. Cowart Hall includes the Reading Research Center and childcare facilities.

Canseco Hall contains a large lecture hall that accommodates 102 students. It also houses specialized facilities for the Canseco School of Nursing, including a large bed laboratory that accommodates nine individual patient care units and also serves as a classroom for clinical skills. The building has five additional smaller specialty or break out rooms that can be set up for student practice of specific skills or used as teaching or check-off stations for evaluation of clinical competencies, as well as two specialized computer labs that address the learning needs of nursing students. Canseco Hall also contains a video studio and classroom for distance education, as well as faculty offices.

Pellegrino Hall has a 103-seat auditorium, two smaller lecture halls, 10 medium sized classrooms, and four computer laboratories designed to meet the needs of students in the areas of business and computer information systems. Also included in Pellegrino Hall are the offices of Human Resources, Purchasing, and International Programs, as well as faculty offices.

The Center for the Study of Western Hemispheric Trade was designed to meet conference needs as well as classroom demand. It includes a large flexible room that can be divided or used to seat 400 participants. It also has two smaller lecture halls and three seminar rooms. It houses a specialized media laboratory to meet the needs of students in the communication major. The office of Educational Technology and Outreach (ETO), the Texas Center for Border Economics and Enterprise Development, the Center for the Study of Western Hemispheric Trade, and the Western Hemispheric Trade Information Center are located in this building along with faculty offices.

The campus is completed with several specialized buildings that serve the needs of the campus as a whole.

The Student Development Center includes a 189-seat auditorium, two medium sized classrooms, five small seminar rooms, four rooms used by student activities, and an 8500 square foot ballroom that can be divided or used in its entirety for conferences or special events. It also houses the University’s food service operation, its bookstore, copy center, game room, and honors lounge. The 99,219 gross square foot student center also houses a food service facility which includes a 1323 square foot kitchen, 4325 square foot dining area, and a 2074 square foot overflow dining area. The food court is an auxiliary enterprise operated under contract by Aramark. The 5684 square foot bookstore is another auxiliary enterprise operated under contract by Barnes and Noble. Also located here are the Office of Enrollment Management and School Relations, Career Services, Student Counseling, Continuing Education and Pre-College Programs, Student Activities, Student Life, and Student Health.

A 49,000 square foot kinesiology/convocation building serves recreational, intramural, and intercollegiate sports needs. As other campus facilities were coming on line, it served as the site for convocation, graduation, career fairs, and classroom activities. When intercollegiate sports became a part of the University in Fall 2002, the use of the facility changed. At the present time, the University is in the final design phase of an expansion of kinesiology facilities to accommodate enrollment growth and increased demand for academics, competitive sports, and recreational activities. The athletics department is housed here. Also supporting the growing athletic program of the University are a competitive soccer field and an intramural soccer field. Golf facilities are available two miles from campus.

A 122,000 square foot Fine Arts Building was opened in Fall 2003 to address the needs of an expanding degree inventory in the area of the fine and performing arts and to meet the increasing demand for large performance and meeting space. Along with studios and practice rooms, the Fine Arts Building houses a 900-seat recital hall and a 50-seat “black box theater”, as well as an art exhibit space. There are two medium-sized classrooms, four smaller seminar rooms, 13 studio or practice rooms and faculty offices.

The Sue and Radcliffe Killam Library comprises five floors and is divided by a breezeway. The University Library is housed on the east side and contains over 42,000 square feet of public space, including lobbies, reference and instruction space, federal documents, microforms, periodicals, and special collections on the first floor. Media, curriculum collection, juvenile collection, and Texas state documents are housed on the second floor and general collection stacks, five group study rooms, are on the third floor. More general collection stacks and five more group study rooms are on the fourth floor. The library also houses Programs for Academic Support and Enrichment that includes a testing center, computer lab and the Writing Center. There is seating space for 555 library users and 44 computer workstations available for public use. A central feature of the library is the Great Room, the library’s main reading room, which provides a panoramic view of the great Texas plain through its unique orb window.

The west side of the building contains the main administrative and support services offices of the University. Administrative offices include the University President, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Vice President for Finance and Administration, Vice President for Institutional Advancement, and Vice President for Student Affairs. Support services offices include University Registrar, Financial Aid, Admissions, Business Office, Budget/Payroll, Public Affairs and Information Services, University Police, Secretarial Services, Mail Room, Receiving, Institutional Effectiveness, and Computer and Telecommunications Services (CTS).

University food service facilities are located in the Student Center and Bullock Hall. Aramark is contracted by the University to provide food service to the campus. The main dining facility is located on the first floor of the Student Center. Aramark operates a Subway sandwich franchise and also offers its own in-house menu. Aramark also operates the Bene Pizza facility in Bullock Hall first floor. In August 2004, the University initiated meal plans for the campus community. This meal plan is tailored to the needs of the students living in the Residence Learning Community, a 424-bed, on-campus facility owned and operated by the University. The University also offers apartment style housing at the University Village located at the entrance of the campus.

Maintenance of Facilities
The Physical Plant department is composed of 26 employees within three divisions: grounds maintenance, building maintenance, and event services. The Grounds Maintenance department is composed of eight employees and they maintain approximately 120 improved acres on campus. This department is responsible for mowing, landscaping, sprinkler maintenance, trash pickup, and site-scape maintenance. The Building Maintenance department consists of seven employees as follows: two electricians, two building mechanics, two heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems operators and a plumber. Their responsibilities include lighting maintenance, wiring (electrical and data), plumbing maintenance, mechanical room maintenance, HVAC maintenance, and temperature control. The Event Services staff consists of five employees responsible for setting-up venues for all University events. The Physical Plant staff also includes the Safety Coordinator, Computer-Aided Design Operator/Fleet Manager, Procurement Specialist, Staff Assistant, Assistant Director and Director.

The Physical Plant also supervises the service contracts involved in maintenance of facilities such as Custodial Services, Elevator Maintenance, HVAC filter, Energy Management, Chiller and Boiler Maintenance, Generator Maintenance, Handicap Door Maintenance and Pest Control. These contracts are essential to the maintenance of the University and it is the role of the Physical Plant to supervise the contractors so that the contracts are executed to their fullest and in the best interest of the University.

The Physical Plant utilizes a facilities management software, that creates and tracks work orders. The system also prints work orders for preventive maintenance of the mechanical systems of the buildings on campus. Physical Plant receives work requests via email. The email work requests are then entered into the TMA system and a work order is generated. The work order is issued a confirmation number and the requesting department is sent an email confirmation. Work orders are then sent to their respective departments where the supervisor prioritizes and assigns them to the appropriate division. The division then has five working days to begin and complete the work order. Upon completion, the work order is returned to Physical Plant where it is closed-out of the TMA system. The completion date, time, materials utilized for completion, and the name of the employee who performed the work, as well as any comments are recorded. A customer satisfaction survey is sent after every sixth work order.

Departments may request remodeling or construction by filling out a Physical Plant Special Project Form. After the department has determined the scope of the project, identified funding, and the project has been approved by the department chair and dean, the Physical Plant will estimate the cost and submit it to the Vice President for Finance and Administration for final approval. Once approval is granted, a purchase requisition will be initiated and the bidding process will begin. If it is to be contracted out to the private sector, Physical Plant works with the purchasing department in the billing process. Physical Plant will supervise the renovation and construction projects through their completion.

The campus utilities and energy management is coordinated by the Physical Plant. A Siemens Energy Management System is used to track and control energy usage, HVAC, and campus lighting. The University utilizes a four-pipe, closed loop system for heating and cooling. Cold water is generated by four 1000-ton chillers. Hot water is produced by a McQuay heat pump during warm weather, and two boilers during the winter months. Domestic hot water is produced at the central plant and piped throughout campus. At present, the University has excess capacity in its Central Plant to accommodate future expansion.

All campus facility information is included in the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board Facilities Inventory.



LOCATION/Special Instructions

Construction Fact Sheet, 2003
Special Project Form

The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board Facilities Report

SACS Documentation Room
(Killam Library Room 334-C)

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