Joe Humphreys can already picture the new Northwest Campus of the University of Houston-Victoria bustling with students and people from the Crossroads.
The Partnerships for Regional Economic Prosperity director is excited to see the completion of the new campus, he said, so more people in the area can collaborate.
“This is going to be such a friendly and open facility for people and groups to come and have meetings in,” Humphreys said. “This is real exciting.”
More than a hundred UHV faculty, staff, students and community members attended a groundbreaking ceremony Tuesday afternoon at the new Northwest Campus, which will be at the former Town Plaza Mall, near East Airline Road and North Laurent Street.
The building will undergo a renovation beginning this month and is slated for completion in summer 2020. The campus is one of several UHV construction projects, including a STEM building and a new learning commons complex.
“It’s going to (be) a great new resource for our university, and we couldn’t be more pleased because it’s been a long time coming,” said University President Bob Glenn.
The building was purchased by the university in July 2017. The university used $1.9 million in capital construction bonds to acquire a portion of the building from Our Lady of Victory Catholic Church, and a $1.5 million grant from the M.G. and Lillie A. Johnson Foundation will fund a lab in the new center.
The campus will be 44,000 square feet and will accommodate the university’s Small Business Development Center; Partnerships for Regional Economic Prosperity, also known as PREP; athletics; the UHV kinesiology program; classrooms; administrative offices; and a climate-controlled space for records retention, storage and additional VC/UHV Library books.
A university shuttle will transport students to and from the new campus, according to a UHV news release.
Within the Small Business Development Center, there will be offices and a large multipurpose room and a conference space that will be shared with the partnership’s office.
Lindsay Young, the Small Business Development Center director, said she was happy the center would partner with the partnership to help small businesses in the region.
“We’re really excited to have a regional center where we can offer things from business development to community development engagement under one roof,” Young said.
Currently, the center is in the Victoria Tower on Laurent Street. Young said the center will go from having one small training room to a bigger space where it can host workshops and community events.
“We really hope that the community will realize that this facility is available for them,” Young said.
UHV Student Government Association President Christopher McDonald said the renovation of the new campus shows how much the university has grown and the commitment from the students and staff to the Victoria area.
“This is an opportunity for us (the students) to branch out in the community even more,” McDonald, 23, said. “A lot more people will see us out in the town since the campus is located in the middle of businesses. Our overall goal as a student population is to be more present in the community, and this new campus will really help.”