Texas A&M Board of Regents approve $39.6 million in new construction projects for WTAMU

WTAMU
The approval of the construction of the VERO center, the designation of a Regents Professor and the naming of several campus spaces topped the agenda for West Texas A&M University during the regular meeting of The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents today in College Station.

With a total project budget of $22,000,000, the board of regents approved the construction of the Texas A&M Veterinary Education, Research & Outreach (VERO) Center at WTAMU. The facility will be a regional veterinary teaching center and will facilitate collaborative, multidisciplinary research among scientists from across the region. The building will cover more than 22,000 square feet and will be located adjacent to the new Agricultural Sciences Complex and the planned Texas A&M Veterinary Medical Diagnostic Laboratory (TVMDL), also approved by board for a total project budget of $17,600,000.

The new TVMDL facility will feature all the latest technology to provide the best in diagnostic capabilities. The 11,233 square foot facility will house labs for bacteriology, pathology, serology and virology as well as spaces for receiving and processing and necropsy and support. Construction on both projects is scheduled to begin in December with substantial completion in June of 2020.

The board also approved the designation of Dr. Lal Almas, interim dean and professor in the Paul Engler College of Agriculture and Natural Sciences, as a Regents Professor. He is one of 15 from across the system to be recognized for exemplary contributions throughout the year to their respective institutions and to the state of Texas. Recipients receive a stipend, a commemorative medallion and retain the title of Regents Professor throughout their employment within the system.

Almas has served as the interim dean of the Engler College of Agriculture and Natural Sciences since March, filling a position vacated by the death of Dr. Dean Hawkins. As the interim, Almas has overseen all facets of the college, including the Department of Agriculture’s move from the Agriculture and Natural Sciences Building to its new home in the Agricultural Sciences Complex.

He joined the Department of Agricultural Sciences in 2001 and was named associate dean for the college in June of 2016. He traveled to Azerbaijan in 2012 as a Fulbright Scholar, where he taught a quantitative agricultural business and environmental economics course. In addition to his role as a faculty member in the agricultural business and economics area, Almas also has served as a Faculty Advising Fellow in the Office of Advising Services. He is the author of several publications and has presented numerous times at regional, national and international conferences.

To date, 224 Texas A&M University System members have been recognized with the Regents Professor honor. Other WTAMU faculty members who have been recognized as Regents Professors over the years include Royal Brantley, Dr. Bruce Brasington, Dr. William Sissom, Dr. Robert Hansen, Dr. John Pipkin, Dr. Darlene Pulliam, Dr. Jean Stuntz and Dr. Jim Rogers.

In other business, the board confirmed the appointment and commissioning of Simona B. Cruz, a peace officer with the University Police Department. The board also approved the names of the following named spaces.

• The Diane and Robert Thorpe Practice Room, Practice Room 231, Mary Moody Northen Hall

• Don Taylor Training Room, Classroom 110, WTAMU Enterprise Center

• Shelley St. Clair Accompanist Studio, Accompanist Studio 228, Sybil B. Harrington Fine Arts Complex.

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