April 17, 2024


Epicurean Science & Tech

Houston colleges could get $552M, more than twice any other city, from Texas Legislature

3 min read

AUSTIN — The Legislature approved $3.35 billion for construction at colleges and universities across the state, with Houston projects receiving $552 million — more than twice any other city — and San Antonio ones receiving $157 million.

Gov. Greg Abbott had included “improvements to higher education” to his list of priorities for the third special session that ended early this week, and is expected to sign the bill into law, although he had not as of Friday.

The bill authorizes what are known as “tuition revenue bonds,” allowing schools to borrow money secured by their tuition dollars to get cheaper interest rates. The state then gives the schools money to pay back the loans. This was last done in 2015, when the state used general revenue funds to authorize $3.1 billion in borrowing, but this time the state plans to use federal funds from the American Rescue Plan at first, then general funds later.

The three largest Houston projects are each receiving $69.87 million: Texas A&M System Health Science Center, for a Medical Center building; UT Health Sciences Center-Houston, for a public health education and research building; and the UT M.D. Anderson Cancer Center for a life sciences research, innovation and discovery initiatives facility.

The University of Houston and Texas Southern University will also see several new projects funded by the bill.

While the UH system will receive $59.9 million for a medical research facility, UH will get $52.4 million for an IDEA Lab; $52.4 million for a Sugar Land academic building; and $40 million for the Hobby School of Public Affairs building. UH-Downtown will get $44.9 million for a police department and criminal justice academy building.

Meanwhile, TSU is slated to receive $40 million for maintenance and renovation; $30 million for a health and wellness center; $22.8 million for the Nabrit building; and $2.4 million for upgrades to signage and wayfinding.

The largest projects in San Antonio are the Glen Biggs Institute for Alzheimer’s & Neurodegenerative Disease building at UT Health San Antonio, at about $60 million; an innovation, entrepreneurship and careers building at the University of Texas at San Antonio that will get $52 million, and about $45 million for a public health and education building at Texas A&M University-San Antonio.

Scroll down for a searchable database of the projects: 

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After Houston, the city with the second highest total is Denton in North Texas, which is receiving $213 million. The combined funding in cities in the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area, which includes Denton, exceeds the Houston funding.

Houston has the most projects, at 11, while San Antonio — tied for the second most — has three.

There are four projects planned for $100 million or more each. The largest single project authorization is $113 million for a science and technology research building at the University of North Texas, in Denton. The 167,700 square-foot building will house facilities both for research and classroom instruction.

Second is a STEM classroom building at Texas State University in San Marcos, for which about $112 million is authorized, while the last two are a science building at UNT-Dallas and a health sciences center at Texas Woman’s University in Denton, each for $100 million.

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