A&M Regents Agree to Easterwood Rehab, Military Walk's Return

Rehab on the area's gateway to the world was among the wide-ranging, expensive projects were approved at the Texas A&M System Regents meeting.

That meeting was held Thursday.

A $7 million rehabilitation of Easterwood Airport's ramp for the general aviation terminal was discussed and approved. The ramp has significant cracks and is beginning to fail, according to A&M.

Originally, Regents had signed off on a first phase of the project totaling $2.3 million, but the FAA has recommended designing the whole project at once.

The project scope change could also increase Easterwood's chances of getting federal grants, according to A&M.

Work is expected to begin later this year.

- For more on the Regents' meeting, click on the link below this story.

Also approved was a upgrade to the College Station campus's heating and power system, which has a price tag of $70 million.

According to A&M, the system in place now has parts ranging in age from 38 to 52 years old, when the typical useful life of a heat/power system is 30 years. Greenhouse gas emission would be reduced by 30 percent with the new system, according to A&M.

Nearly $10 million was authorized for major renovations to the university's chemistry building.

According to A&M, an incoming internationally-recognized chemistry scholar who brings $1.2 million in funding annually needs modern lab space. As a result, the fourth floor of the chemistry building will be revamped.

For those familiar with the history of A&M, Regents signed off on the recreation of Military Walk. The 1,500 foot street ran from the old Guion Hall (now the site of the Rudder Theatre complex) to Sbisa Dining Hall, and served as a center on campus.

The area was reconfigured in 1971. That $4 million project to recreate the pedestrian path was approved Thursday.

Among the changes will be brick and limestone paving, extensive landscaping, and the relocation of the Earl Rudder Statue to the north side of Rudder Theatre so it can "review" cadets marching.

A $4 million gift to A&M will pay for the project. Dan Hughes, a former cadet and member of the 1951 graduating class, made the donation.

“This project is important to recognizing the history of Texas A&M and the tradition of leadership of the Corps of Cadets," he said in an A&M press release.

President Elsa Murano also commented on the gift from the oil and gas businessman.

“Restoration of Military Walk has long been the dream of many Aggies, and we are most grateful to Mr. Dan Hughes for so generously providing the financial resources to make this dream a reality," she said in that release.

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