TSTC looking to buy land for new campus in south Abilene


ABILENE, Texas - An $18 million project that has been talked about for nearly two years is a step closer to becoming a reality. Abilene may soon get a new Texas State Technical College campus near the Abilene Regional Airport.

That's if a sale of land off Loop 322 is approved by the city of Abilene.

Development Corporation of Abilene CEO Kent Sharp said they stepped in to help with funding.

"The leadership here talked about it, and it was decided that the Development Corporation of Abilene, through our sales tax, could fund $4 million of the project," Sharp said. "The way we are funding that is [by giving the college] $400,000 dollars per year over ten years."

The next step was to look at the cost of the land.

One company had already appraised 170 acres for the school at $3,000 per acre in another area. TSTC used that estimate to establish a budget for 50 acres of land.

An appraisal was drafted for the specific 50 acres sought by TSTC for their new campus. The expected price almost tripled from $3,000 per acre to $8,900 per acre.

TSTC could only budget up to $5,500 per acre, so the DCOA agreed to fund an extra $179,600 for the land.

"Let's go ahead and make the extra $180,000 investment to get the land closed so they can start building our campus," Sharp said.

That additional funding was approved by the Abilene City Council on March 9.

Sharp said the purpose of the new TSTC campus is to attract students from all over west Texas and other states.

"We've got to have a trained work force. We've got to get skills in the hands of these of these workers that so that they can be productive for us," Sharp said.

City officials said council will discuss the sale of the land at next week's meeting.