Designed to provide a central point of entry and friendly access for visitors and prospective students, the new Visitors Center and main entrance at The University of Texas-Pan American is set to open in August, just in time for the University's 75th anniversary.
As part of the $3.2 million project, the Student Services Building is being expanded with the addition of the new Visitors Center, designed to be the point of first contact for visitors to the campus and potential students. The 7,200-square-foot Visitors Center will be added to the first floor of the southwest part of the Tower, giving the University a "front door" that faces the main campus entrance on University Drive.
Besides a spacious lobby and a video room where visitors can get a feel for the campus, the Visitors Center will house the Student Outreach and Recruitment department of the Division of Enrollment and Student Services. It will have a community meeting room and 2,500 square feet of exhibit space to display student work and alumni achievements.
The original part of the Student Service Building's first floor is being remodeled slightly to make the Office of Admissions and Records, Student Financial Services, and Payments and Collections areas open to the central hallway. Prospective students and visitors will be able to enter from the Visitors Center on the south, while returning students and faculty will have access from the center of the campus.
Along with the new Visitors Center, the main campus entrance to the University is being widened and enhanced, guiding newcomers to the Center while making traffic flow more smoothly along the south side of the campus. It will be marked by a 6-foot aluminum sign with tile façade displaying the University name and address, and similar signs are scheduled to go on campus in the next few years.
A staffed information booth near the main entrance will provide directions, maps and temporary parking permits to visitors and prospective students.
A 14-foot bronze statue of a bucking bronco - symbolizing the University's Broncs athletic nickname and mascot - will stand in front of the Visitors Center. It is being designed by Santa Fe artist Veryl Goodnight, who designed a sculpture in front of the George Bush Presidential Library in College Station, Texas.
In terms of parking, a reserved lot with 36 spaces already has been completed. Another 36-space lot in front of the Visitors Center for visitors should be completed this summer.
The Edinburg campus currently has several entry points, with the two main driveways off University Drive, just east of Sugar Road, considered the main entrance due to the close proximity to the Student Services Building. However, there is currently nothing to set it apart as the main gateway to the campus.
The creation of a new entrance is a high priority in the implementation of the University's Master Plan, approved two years ago by the U. T. System Board of Regents. Work is being done in phases to minimize traffic disruption.