BRYAN - Blinn College is in the business of expanding minds and it will soon expand its reach with a new campus and research facility in College Station.
The Board of Trustees approved a plan to buy an existing building and land after projections showed a ballooning student population at its Brenham and Bryan Locations.
Bryan's campus on Villa Maria boasted record enrollment in recent years and a few months ago had to upgrade parking because of so many students.
The building is just off of Highway 6 near Southwest Parkway on land currently occupied by the company Lynntech Incorporated.
The timeline for this is pretty ambitious.
Blinn says it hopes to turn this property into a campus as early as next spring or fall at the latest. Blinn administrators tell us they expect as many as 700 to 1,000 students will be coming to class here pretty soon after.
Now the work begins on how to manage traffic into this area and the logistics of having a new campus.
Blinn College is looking at managing its growth in Bryan with a major expansion coming southward to College Station.
Next year this building on Highway 6 east of Central Park, will be home for a separate place to learn. Part of it is currently being used by Lynntech, Incorporated.
They are a science and engineering company that works in aerospace, defense and human health.
"There is about 71,000 square feet that is available now for us to retrofit and fit out deciding what we are going to put in there in terms of programs is our first priority," said Sylvia McMullen, the President of the Brazos County Campuses for Blinn.
They plan to have each campus self contained.
"We really don't want students traveling up and down the Bypass or faculty for that matter traveling up and down the Bypass. We have some work to do," she said.
Blinn's Bryan Campus continues to see record enrollment with nearly 13,000 students this year. Once the new campus in College Station opens up they expect enrollment could reach nearly 20,000 students in Brazos County by the year 2025.
Bailey Gillum is in her second semester at Blinn in Bryan, hopes to transfer to A&M, and plans to be a middle school teacher. She wasn't surprised by the expansion announcement.
"I mean there are so many students here from, that come straight here from high school and it's a lot more affordable than going straight to a four year university," she said.
McMullen says students will see big benefits.
"We do not have a lot of learning spaces, we do not have a lot of opportunity because we've just been growing so fast. We hope that the addition of this building will allow us to expand the learning opportunities," McMullen said.
Blinn College will be spending the next several months looking into all the purchase details. If all goes well they expect to close in July.
As part of the agreement Lynntech Incorporated will be able to stay in the space they are currently using for 36 months.
The company's CEO says they plan to stay in the Bryan-College Station area and will be looking at relocation options once the deal with Blinn is finalized.