After about four years of being located on West Campus, four Texas A&M University Division of Student Affairs departments are moving back to main campus and into the new Student Services Building in December.
Counseling & Psychological Services, Disability Resources, Residence Life and Offices of the Dean of Student Life will move into the building — located on the corner of Lamar and Houston streets — in intervals throughout the month. Part of the building will be accessible on Tuesday for the Residence Life housing assignments office, and the entire building will be open beginning Jan. 2. A grand opening ceremony will be Jan. 22.
Lake Flato and PBK architects are behind the design of the 95,000-square-foot building, while the $42.6 million construction was completed by Vaughn Construction, according to Texas A&M. Disability Resources’ new testing center will be on the first floor. Offices of the Dean of Student Life, Residence Life and Counseling & Psychological Services will share the other three floors, where there also will be open study space, private student space and conference areas.
Counseling & Psychological Services is scheduled to move in Dec. 16 and 17. Assistant Director of Clinical Services Kari Becker said students who are seeking crisis services — which includes assistance for students with thoughts of suicide or harming others — should go to the current location on West Campus by White Creek Apartments from Dec. 16 through Dec. 20 as officials get settled in the new location. Starting Jan. 2, crisis services will be offered in the new Student Services Building, and regular ongoing appointments can be scheduled at the new building beginning in the spring semester on Jan. 13.
Becker said the departments’ four years on West Campus have been convenient for some students, specifically at White Creek Apartments, but Becker said the majority of students have faced challenges because of distance, limited parking and few bus routes that go to the area.
“First and foremost, people are really excited about us being on main campus in a centrally located spot,” Becker said. “It’s going to be so much easier for students to seek our services, and we are really excited about that and to be connected to campus again.”
Additionally, Becker said she is looking forward to a building that was designed for counseling services, with specific layouts for the rooms and soundproofing to ensure confidentiality.
Director of Disability Resources Kristie Orr expressed similar sentiments. The new testing center is double the size of the current one, and offices are larger and more soundproof. She said extra measures have been taken for accessibility, with automatic sliding doors and restrooms that are easier for people with disabilities to use. She said details down to carpet styles that are intended to be less distracting have been considered.
“Some changes are a little more subtle, while others are more obvious,” Orr said.
Orr said the distance from main campus throughout the past four years has been a challenge for some students trying to get to the testing center, so she is glad to see the department moving back to a more central location.
Disability Resources moves Dec. 16 and 17, but Orr said since finals end on Dec. 11, they will shut down the testing center Dec. 12 and won’t reopen until the new building opens in January. Orr said they will still be taking phone calls to work with people throughout the transition.
“[The departments] are all very excited, and we’ve all worked together on this building project, so that’s been really great for us to all collaborate to have a building that’s welcoming to students,” Orr said.
Residence Life will move between Monday and Dec. 11. Offices of the Dean of Student Life — which includes the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual & Transgender Resource Center, the Women’s Resource Center, Student Conduct Office and more — will move between Thursday and Dec. 12. Visit tx.ag/StudentServicesMoving for the full moving schedule.