Texas State: Then vs. Now


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When Southwest Texas State Normal School opened its doors in 1903, few could have anticipated the university it would become.
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Michael Heintze, associate vice president for enrollment management and marketing, said what began as a college of 303 students and only one field of study has transformed into a university with 38,739 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral students each enrolled in one of 198 degree programs.

Jennifer Scharlach, assistant director of the alumni association and Texas State alumna, said the biggest change the school has seen since its inception is the number of students.

Scharlach said enrollment size has continued to increase every year since she graduated, making it possible for the university to expand campus resources and fields of study.

“Having gone to school here, I am familiar with the history and changes made from the time we opened until now,” Scharlach said. “The biggest difference between then and now, however, is probably the number of students that are on campus.”

Nancy Nusbaum, associate vice president for finance and support services planning, said increases in enrollment bring their own unique set of challenges.

“We have to continue expanding because of our student growth,” Nusbaum said. “As the years have gone on, each semester has brought more students that need more space or renovations for safety purposes.”

She said the university is constantly checking underground piping, solid rooftops and everything in between to keep up with current policies.

Nusbaum said each section of the university has seen major improvements in key areas over the past few years.

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“East Campus expanded Bobcat Stadium, South Campus incorporated the Performing Arts Center, West Campus is adding residential halls, North Campus expanded parking space and various renovations have happened in the middle of campus,” Nusbaum said. “And that is just to list a few.”

Juan Guerra, vice president of facilities, said university officials are currently in the process of adopting a new campus master plan—a guiding document used as a blueprint for upcoming construction projects across Texas State.

Guerra said expansion and alterations to campus are constantly in progress.

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Guerra said he predicts the university will need to continue to grow—not only in square footage, but by maintaining, renovating and modernizing the existing spaces to keep up with student enrollment.

“Once this new master plan is done, we will see where the campus needs to grow or change in order to keep accommodating all these different expanding programs,” Guerra said.

In addition to the master plan update, Nusbaum said the university recently received an increase of $15 million a year in their Higher Education Assistance Fund allocation.

“With this, we will be able to tend to more projects and work even further towards the betterment of the university,” Nusbaum said.

From an alumna perspective, Nusbaum said the evolution of campus is exciting.

“Having gone to school here and having worked here for years, seeing how we have grown is really fantastic,” Nusbaum said. “It is an indication of students wanting to come here, knowing that they will receive an overall well-rounded education.”

Scharlach said Texas State is different because it maintains an atmosphere of a small university while at the same time growing at an intense rate, and that speaks volumes.

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“The tagline for Texas State is ‘The Rising Star of Texas,’ and I believe that we are not only rising, but we are a force to be reckoned with,” Scharlach said. “We are the fourth-largest university in the state of Texas, and yet we still make people feel like we are a small, close-knit, Bobcat family. I am definitely proud to be a Bobcat.”

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