A year ago, ground had just been broken for construction of the Archer College of Health and Human Services’ new building, while a new press box at the football stadium and a new sports medicine facility were still just twinkles in the eye of ASU President Brian J. May. Since then, the campus skyline has changed significantly with the three-story Archer College building nearing completion, the walls of the Mayer Press Box towering over LeGrand Stadium at 1st Community Credit Union Field, and the University Sports Medicine Clinic – Shannon Clinic-Jackson going up where the old field house used to stand.
“This is an exciting time for the entire campus,” May said. “Each of these new facilities will be a tremendous benefit to the programs that utilize them, and each is also a testament to the incredible relationships that exist between Angelo State and our generous donors and community partners.”
The largest and most complex of the new facilities is the Archer College building that will be the new home of the departments of Nursing and Physical Therapy, as well as components of the Kinesiology, Psychology and Sociology, Health Science Professions, and Social Work departments. As construction nears completion by January 2018, a lot of attention has now shifted to the interior infrastructure for the smart classrooms and various high-tech laboratories.
“We have adopted a system called EMS, which essentially runs all the digital and electronic components and also does inventory and scheduling,” said Dr. Leslie Mayrand, Archer College dean. “They’ve done all the drops and are installing everything they need to hook up all the technology before the walls go in. They’ve really made tremendous progress.”
“We’re also getting a better picture of what it’s going to be like for our students,” she added, “and that’s what gets me really charged up. When we designed the building, the needs of the students were our top priority. That’s what is going to make it so successful. We wanted to make sure we included everything the students need, and I think we’ve done a good job of that.”
Mayrand also said that health and human services students, faculty and staff are already getting antsy to transition over to the new 50,000-square-foot structure that was partially funded by a $5 million grant from the James B. and Lois R. Archer Foundation of San Angelo.
“I’ve been telling everyone, ‘You need to start packing your boxes,’” Mayrand said. “It’s not fun, going through everything, packing boxes and getting rid of old files, but everyone is excited. We’re all really looking forward to moving into the new building.”
Meanwhile, the Mayer Press Box is also nearing completion in December. Funded by a generous gift from Richard and B.J. Mayer, the 7,300-square-foot facility will house restrooms and concession stands on the first floor, media and VIP suites on the second floor, coaches’ and VIP suites on the third floor, and a video deck on the roof.
The new press box will also complete the latest round of renovations at LeGrand Stadium at 1st Community Credit Union Field and bring it on par with ASU’s other state-of-the-art athletic facilities that continue to be some of the finest in NCAA Division II.
“I think the press box is going to be at the same level of quality as the field, the track and the Junell Center,” said James Reid, ASU athletic director. “I liked our old press box, and it definitely served its purpose, but it really didn’t fit with the quality of the rest of the stadium, and now it will. It will also expand our capabilities with the media and coaches’ suites and the video deck on top.”
It’s going to be a loud and rowdy stadium for our opponents, along with great support for our student-athletes, and the press box will be the cherry on top.
“This press box will complete what is a great stadium for a school the size of ASU,” he added. “It’s going to be a loud and rowdy stadium for our opponents, along with great support for our student-athletes, and the press box will be the cherry on top.”
Just around the corner from the stadium, work crews broke ground for the University Sports Medicine Clinic – Shannon Clinic-Jackson in March 2017, with construction of the 25,000-square-foot facility being funded by Shannon Health and scheduled for completion in March 2018.
In addition to multiple physicians’ offices, radiology rooms, a lab draw room, and a sports medicine and physical therapy center for Shannon, the new facility will include an expanded area for ASU’s athletic training staff to treat Rams and Rambelles players.
“We will almost double the size of our treatment area for our 350-400 student-athletes when we move over there to a 5,300-square-foot space,” said Troy Hill, assistant athletics director of sports medicine. “That’s fantastic! We will also have general medical and orthopedic physicians right next door, which will hopefully decrease the wait time for athletes that need to be seen.”
The increased space will also provide a bit more elbow room for ASU’s three full-time athletic trainers, 4-5 graduate assistants and 15-20 undergraduate student volunteers to perform treatments, as well as for potential expansion of the full-time staff.
“It gets crowded in our current facility,” Hill said. “We do over 15,000 treatments a year from August through May, so the more space we have, the better. We have a good facility now, but I’m looking forward to the new one.”
Incidentally, when the Archer College building, Mayer Press Box and University Sports Medicine Clinic projects are coupled with the recently completed Hunter Strain Engineering Labs and ongoing construction of a new wing for the Centennial Village residence hall and the Biology Department’s new greenhouse, it marks the largest new construction boom on the ASU campus since the 1980s.
Our flourishing campus, continued national recognition for academics and workplace excellence, record enrollment numbers and remarkable fundraising success are unmistakable signs of ASU’s strength and sustainability – and are truly marking this decade as a golden age for Angelo State University.