As construction continues on a new hotel and conference center directly adjacent to Kyle Field, students and faculty are weighing in on what this new addition will mean for Texas A&M’s future.
The 250-room hotel and 23,000 square foot conference center on the corner of Wellborn Road and Joe Routt Boulevard is scheduled to open for the 2018 football season. The structure is planned to include a full-service restaurant, lounges, a fitness center and swimming pool.
Marketing professor Leonard Berry said this hotel is a great addition because it is a great way to generate more revenue for the university.
“It adds excitement to campus life and it definitely increases exposure of the university to those that are not already here,” Berry said. “It’s a great opportunity to integrate different communities by having people come from out of town and stay for a day or two.I look forward to seeing how it will turn out.”
Berry said that having on-campus hotels at research one institutions like Texas A&M is not uncommon. According to each university’s website, 8 out of all 14 teams in the SEC including, Alabama and LSU, have hotels on campus.
Communications lecturer David Tarvin said one of his major concerns is the access to student resources. According to Student Counseling Services Director Maggie Gartner, Disability Services, Residence Life, Student Life and the Student Counseling Service previously occupied Cain Hall, which sat in the spot of the current Cain parking garage, hotel and conference center.
“A&M has a long tradition of people being able to go to football games without needing a hotel on campus,” Tarvin said. “I feel like main campus should be reserved for education. If the hotel is providing some sort of education, then it is definitely a benefit. But if it’s just to benefit donors, then it should be off campus, in my opinion.
The student services were moved initially to facilitate the parking garage construction, according to Student Counseling Services Director Maggie Gartner. However, the relocation of these student resources is currently part of a plan to put four departments from Student Affairs in Bizzell Hall, located closer to the Memorial Student Center than their current location.
Accounting sophomore Kimberly Morah said the hotel is a smart move if it is able to generate an exceptional amount of money for the school.
“At the end of the day, education is a business,” Morah said. “The university needs money to accommodate the 60,000 people that attend our campus. So if this hotel is able to assist in the funding of the university then this construction project was a wise choice.”
Civil engineering sophomore Tyra Patterson said although she loves the idea of making A&M more accessible to guests, this new project does not benefit the students.
“There are plenty of other departments, buildings and areas of campus that need construction and development,” Patterson said. “This hotel holds no true educational value to this campus for the current students and should have been either further down the list of construction projects or never constructed at all.”