Trustees approve investigation of additional property for San Antonio campus

Release Date: October 23, 2009

PLAINVIEW – Facing a packed San Antonio campus with more than 1,500 students enrolled currently, the Board of Trustees at Wayland Baptist University on Thursday approved administrators to investigate options for expanding the campus’ capacity.

In its regularly scheduled October meeting, trustees discussed at length the options available to the campus for purchasing additional space that would allow the campus to expand its programs in the city.

Specifically, the growing room would permit the relatively new School of Nursing – currently housed completely on the San Antonio campus – to grow its enrollment. The potential for that, noted Executive Vice President and Provost Dr. Bobby Hall, is nearly unlimited due to the great shortage of nurses both in the South Texas metro areas and nationwide in general.

“We would anticipate as many as 50 students in the fall term, so that means over the course of the next couple of years, we could have as many as 400 nursing students,” Hall said.

The School of Nursing had its site visit for accreditation by the National League of Nursing Accrediting Commission on Oct. 6 and will receive the final word on its status in March 2010. At that time, Hall said that if Wayland is approved, the program can begin expanding the enrollment limit set until the university graduates its first class of nurses and they successfully complete the licensing exams. Those instances occurred in August.

Dr. Paul Armes, making the presentation about the various options for consideration, noted the growth in San Antonio has been substantial over the past eight years since the university built its own facility off Interstate 35 North at O’Connor Road, having been housed in several other leased properties since its inception in 1984.

“During the last 10 years, enrollment has grown by nearly 70 percent. In our current location, it’s grown by 34 percent,” Armes said. “We believe the Board wants to find ways of enabling the San Antonio campus to reach its full potential. Right now, we’re limited by space and that’s one of the issues we’re facing. We also believe the field for opportunity for faith-based education actually extends far beyond San Antonio.”

Armes emphasized that the pressing need in San Antonio did not mean the university was shifting its focus completely away from the needs on the home campus in Plainview.

“We interpret this to be a very unique moment in history and an opportunity we see to meet a specific need in San Antonio. Our commitment to West Texas remains strong and unwavering,” he said. “Our commitment to a wonderful opportunity in San Antonio in no way diminishes our ongoing relationship with West Texas and our commitment to build, to enable and empower this campus to be all that God desires.”

In other business, the board also approved a slight revision to the university mission statement and the 2010-15 strategic plan that will guide the university for the next five years. The only change to the mission statement is the removal of the phrase “lifelong learning” from the statement.

The board also approved an executive committee recommendation to proceed with repairs to the roof of Gates Hall, the four-story administration and classroom structure built in 1909, replacement of the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system in Moody Science Building – completed in 1970 and still bearing the original HVAC units. Included in that proposal was a campus-wide lighting retrofit that will increase substantially the energy efficiency of the campus and save more than 646,000 kilowatt hours annually.

A policy on administrative sabbaticals was also approved, along with a list of candidates for upcoming graduation ceremonies. Trustees also approved additional three-year terms on the board for current members Dr. Claude Cone of Albuquerque, N.M., and Randy Sharp of Amarillo, both elected in 2006. Dr. Joe Jesko, a retired counselor from Arlington, was elected to fill the unexpired term of Dr. Stephan Vernon, a former Levelland pastor who resigned his board position when hired at the Baptist General Convention of Texas. His term will expire in 2012.

New officers for the 2009-10 board year were approved as well. They include Don Jackson, chairman, of Amarillo, vice chairman Dr. Gary Abercrombie of Plainview, George Meriwether, secretary, and Dr. Gene Meacham, assistant secretary, both of Plainview. General Edgar Murphy was honored as the outgoing board chair after serving two terms at the helm.

Outgoing trustees were recognized at the luncheon, including C.C. Kelly of White Deer, who has served from 1990-99 and 2000-09; Sally Shaw of Lockney, who served 1997-2005 and 2006-2009; and Rev. Ken Coffee of San Antonio, who served from 2000-09. Trustees may serve three consecutive three-year terms but must rotate off for one year before being allowed to serve again.