Increased enrollment comes with increased construction
By NICOLE VAGUINE
SAN MARCOS – Increased enrollment at Texas State University has called for rapid expansion throughout San Marcos, causing residents to question whether or not the city can handle the significant amount of growth.
Texas State University reached an all-time high enrollment during the fall 2015 semester. The incoming freshman class had over 5,700 students, increasing enrollment by nearly 7%. With over 38,000 students on campus, 2015 marks the 18th consecutive year that Texas State has set a record for total enrollment, according to a university press release.
“These are exciting times at Texas State,” said Texas State President Denise Trauth.
According to President Trauth, there are more students at Texas State than ever before. Although the increase in population brings many good things for the city, San Marcos is unable to handle the rapid influx of people moving to the area.
The city is currently in the works of making major expansions to accommodate the increase in population; however, it is a process that can take many years. Students have noticed the incredible amount of growth within the past couple of years and how San Marcos has attempted to maintain steady construction to adjust the infrastructure to better suit the large number of new residents.
“San Marcos is constantly trying to improve the city in order to meet the needs of the growing population, but it’s a slow process that can’t currently keep up with how fast the population is growing,” said Texas State student Rolando Reyna.
Last year the city of San Marcos began the Loop 82/Aquarena Springs Drive Overpass, a $20.7 million project, which is expected to be completed in late 2017. The purpose of the project, according to the City of San Marcos, is to increase the mobility and safety of drivers on Aquarena Springs Drive by building a bridge over the railroad tracks.
Construction due to this project will impact the two intersections of Aquarena Drive at Charles Austin and at Thorpe/Mill Street. Aquarena Drive will be reduced to one lane during this process, causing hefty traffic throughout the area.
“[The city] could have started on a solution for the traffic problem on Aquarena, or any other issue in this town, a while ago because they knew the growth was going to be significant,” said Eddie Dees, a senior at Texas State.
Including the Loop 82/Aquarena Springs Drive Overpass project, the city of San Marcos is currently undergoing 7 construction projects and 15 design projects to improve the overall infrastructure of the city, according to the Engineering and Capital Improvements Department. Along with the city developments, Texas State University is undergoing 26 construction projects, an investment of $750 million, to accommodate the growth that San Marcos is facing, according to Finances and Support Services.
Texas State Alumni, Cosmo Wilson, 24, of Richardson, Texas witnessed the expansion of the university as Texas State became a popular destination for incoming freshman. At his graduation last August, Wilson said that the speaker declared that 10 new buildings had been erected since his freshman year in 2010.
“The city is doing the best they can now to grow with the increasing amount of students, but I think they should have been foreseeing this and working ahead of the growth instead of with it,” said Wilson.
For more information on San Marcos' current expansion projects, visit: http://www.sanmarcostx.gov/index.aspx?page=350
For more information on Texas State’s current expansion projects, visit: http://www.fss.txstate.edu/planning/fac_pln/construction.html