COLLEGE STATION, Texas — The Texas A&M University System is expanding their law school in the Dallas Fort Worth area with a $1.5 billion dollar project.
The Texas A&M University System now has the approval to start the designing phase of the project.
Once the planning and structure of the buildings are complete, another meeting will take place to discuss when to break ground for the expansion. Texas A&M is renovating three parking lots adjacent from their current law school to build three new buildings within five years.
The project will start with two buildings with a current budget of $85 million dollars each.
“After these first two buildings are built, once they’re done and the law school is moved out of where they are, we will demolish the existing building and build the Gateway Center,” said David Staack, Associate Vice Chancellor for Research, Texas A&M University System.” The Gateway Center will also house the growth of the law school and some other initiatives in Texas A&M University.”
The Texas A&M University System board of regents gave approval on Thursday for the expansion of the law school.
The redevelopment will include a Law and Education building, a Research Alliance building, and the Gateway Center.
The expansion allows other programs to be on the ground along with the school of law.
“The scales of the building are such that there will be classrooms that can house thousands, over a thousand students, and that’s in addition to the law school students,” said Staack.
Laylan Copelin with the Texas A&M University Systems says the enrollment of the law school doubled the past year and Staack says this was part of the reason to expand.
“Fort Worth was looking to improve the tier one presence within the bounds of the city and Texas A&M kind of loved the idea,” said Staack. “The Fort Worth community can work with Texas A&M on new innovations.”
Staack says a new collaboration is great for Texas A&M and for Dallas Fort Worth.
“Focused towards the industry needs in this area, the needs of the community, both from an education point of view by having additional programs up here and also from a research point of view,” said Staack.
Within the expansion, the first building will be the Law and Education building to house the new law school.
“This will be a new house for the law school as they grow,” said Staack. “It’ll also have an academic presence from Texas A&M College Station up in Fort Worth with regards to nursing, engineering, business, various other programs.”
The second building is the research alliance building and brings research interests into Fort Worth.
“Nursing research, health science research, Texas Department of Emergency Management,” said Staack. “We are planning to have an operations center in that building in addition to researchers from Texas Transportation Institute.”
After these two buildings are complete, the Gateway Center will replace the current law school with office and workforce development spaces.
Myah Pickens is a recent graduate from Texas A&M School of Law and says sharing the new law space with others isn’t such a bad idea.
“Trying to combat how hard law school can be on people mentally, to be able to give them more options, not just a pretty building but more people talk to, more resources to have,” said Myah Pickens, Recent Texas A&M School of Law Grad . “I think it’d be absolutely excellent for the new Aggie lawyers.”
Pickens said a shared space leads to students networking across different majors and programs.
“It’s a great way to network and to connect with other people,” said Pickens. “Networking doesn’t always have to be I need a job. It’s just I need to know somebody because they might know somebody who knows somebody.”