However, many other Texas A&M students and staff members have been less than thrilled with the ever-changing construction sites across town. My entire time here as a student has been during the regime of the orange traffic cone. Although I do not enjoy spending my mornings watching brake lights on University Drive, I am excited about the future of College Station nonetheless. The state of development that we are experiencing is not perpetual — your short-term suffering will yield long-term results.
I have overheard many complaints about the constant construction to come in future years as a result of the University’s 25 by 25 campaign. Most of these people fail to realize that this effort is focused on the retention of engineering students, as there are no current plans to increase school-wide enrollment. Freshman enrollment at A&M has sat around 10,500 for each of the past five years, and University officials do not expect that to change any time soon. The expansion of roads and buildings that we are witnessing is meant to establish a sustainable infrastructure for years to come. We should be grateful that our city and University have the financial resources to enhance our livelihood by improving the condition of our facilities and roadways.
College Station has not always been a hub for academic and athletic success. Many of our parents and grandparents attended school here during a time when parking lots were dirt, and the only attractions around town were The Dixie Chicken and a bowling alley. Expanding infrastructure and facilities will attract new businesses to the area, which can create competitive job opportunities for current residents and future graduates. This phenomenon is occurring in many rapidly developing cities, but none more so than Austin.
A recent article by the New York Times reported that Austin’s metro area grew 26 percent from 2010-2018. Concordantly, Texas Labor Market Information shows that employment grew roughly 36 percent during that period (B-CS increased 18 percent). If you have been to Austin in the past few years, you have seen for yourself the construction it takes to support that rate of growth. Austin is a more established city with greater economic diversity than College Station. Regardless, University of Texas graduates now have many more opportunities to stay put once graduating. I expect a similar cycle to occur in the B-CS area. As the region continues to develop and grow, more graduates will find jobs and start families locally, resulting in more growth, so on and so forth.
A 2018 WalletHub report ranked College Station as the sixth fastest-growing city per capita based on 15 different growth metrics. When you look at other Texas cities on the list (Midland, Pearland, Mckinney, Frisco, Roundrock, Austin and League City), and metropolitan areas (Houston, DFW and San Antonio), morning traffic on the way to your 8 a.m. doesn’t seem too bad. I understand that you hate walking around construction on your way to class, and I know how inconvenient traffic can be. Try to tough it out because the result is going to benefit yourself and future Aggies for generations to come.
To stay aware of construction that may affect your transportation and parking options, I recommend visiting https://transport.tamu.edu or https://www.tamus.edu/business/facilities-planning-construction/. If you are interested in learning more about building and economic development, you can find relevant information at the websites of U.S. Department of Commerce, Bureau of Labor Statistics and Census Bureau.