San Antonio: Alamo Colleges Preps Ground for Future Northwest Campus
Feature Photo (above): The gravel road coming off Balcones Creek provides heavy equipment access to the future NWETC campus. Image: Google Streets.
UPDATE: 8-15-2019 — Comment from Alamo Colleges District has been added.
Originally Posted: 8-14-2019
by Adolfo Pesquera
San Antonio (Bexar County) — Site work is underway for a future Alamo Colleges District campus near Boerne.
Boerne City Manager Ron Bowman told City Council on Tuesday during their regular session that he and the mayor had met recently with officials from the Alamo Community College District on their growth plans.
He referred to the project as the new North Central Regional Campus, however that is an outdated name for a campus concept that has changed. Alamo Colleges now refers to the project in its capital improvement program budget as I-10 Northwest Education and Training Center or simply as the NWETC.
The campus is west of the intersection of Interstate 10 and the Balcones Creek boulevard. The land is almost entirely undeveloped and extends west as far as the northern boundary of the general aviation airport Boerne Stage Field. Balcones Creek, the waterway that is the boundary between Bexar and Kendall counties, is the campus’s north boundary.
The Northwest Training and Education Center campus of ACCD. Image: Google Earth.
Closeup aerial view of site work.
Bowman said the college district wants to construct 50,000 square feet of space in the first phase and anticipate enrollment of 6,000 students. No time-frame was mentioned for reaching that enrollment level.
On Aug. 15, Alamo Colleges Associate Vice Chancellor for Facilities John Strybos responded to a VBX request for more information and stated the 50,000-square-foot figure was conceptual. The scope of work is now closer to 40,000 square feet. This is for two buildings, each with a height of two stories.
Strybos said the design team of Overland Partners as architect and Sundt as construction manager at risk is past the design phase and now working on construction documents. Construction of the buildings is anticipated to start in Spring 2020.
During the Boerne City Council meeting, Mayor Mike Schultz added that the college district requested input from the Boerne business community about what they would like to see from the school. In response, the Greater Boerne Chamber of Commerce sent out a survey to their membership.
The Northwest Education and Training Campus is being designed to provide two-year associate degrees in trades that are in demand. Alamo Colleges operates an Education and Training Campus in New Braunfels and has plans to build new ETC campus in San Antonio’s South Side and West Side.
In 2016, the Alamo Colleges Board of Trustees received community criticism about its plans for including a full service community college by Boerne in its 2017 bond package proposal at a time when the system’s West Side San Antonio tech school was in need of an upgrade and expansion. No capital funding for the West Side was in the bond package but that changed.
The West ETC, South ETC and I-10 NW ETC were each allocated $23 million through the 2017 general obligation bond CIP. As of the May 31 accounting statement, more than $21.7 million remained in the budget for NWETC.
When Alamo Colleges was brainstorming about a full service community college at the site near Boerne, Overland Partners produced a conceptual master plan. It’s unclear at this time how much of the original plan will go forward.
An early concept master plan by Overland Partners for the North Central Regional campus. Courtesy: ACCD.
San Antonio Water System has constructed a lift station for Alamo Colleges that can service the campus, however, Alamo Colleges has been in talks with neighboring stakeholders about their water needs.
Coincidentally, the Alamo Colleges Board of Trustees, meeting as a “committee of the whole,” also convened Tuesday. In that session they agreed to take a vote at their Aug. 20 regular meeting about granting a permanent waterline easement through the northwest campus property to the Kendall County Water Control and Improvement District No. 3A and a temporary easement to Bakke Development for construction.
That water district was one of several created in the 2017 Legislature to help the city of Boerne prepared for current and projected growth.
Alamo Colleges noted in its subject brief that “since the acquisition of the site … the District has cooperated with local authorities and nearby landowners to bring sewer and potable water access to area properties.”
Adolfo Pesquera (Reporter/Editor) is a veteran news journalist. He has worked for Hearst Corp., American Lawyer Media, News Corp and Freedom Communications. His work has been published in newspapers and magazines across the USA. He is a journalism graduate of UT-RGV. He writes, edits and creates digital pages for VBX.