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AEDC Purchases Commerce Building as Future Home for WTAMU Amarillo Center

April 1, 2014

COPY BY: Rana McDonald, 806-651-2129, rmcdonald@wtamu.edu

AEDC Purchases Building as Future Home for WTAMU Amarillo Center

CANYON, Texas—Since its opening in 2008, West Texas A&M University’s Amarillo Center in downtown Amarillo has exceeded expectations for enrollment and course offerings, and the continued need for additional space to accommodate a growing student population was resolved by an Amarillo City Commission vote at its Tuesday, April 1 meeting.

The city commission today (April 1) approved the purchase of the former Commerce building by the Amarillo Economic Development Corporation (AEDC). The building, located at 720 S. Tyler, will undergo renovations and when completed, AEDC will turn the stand-alone structure over to the University as a facility for the WTAMU Amarillo Center.

“AEDC is always happy to play a role in the redevelopment of downtown Amarillo, and refurbishing the Commerce Building for the WTAMU Amarillo Center goes hand-in-hand with our mission to building a stronger economy,” Buzz David, AEDC president and CEO, said. “West Texas A&M University is invaluable to the Panhandle region for its impact on the work force and overall quality of life, and AEDC is proud to support continued growth of the WTAMU Amarillo Center.”

And in a show of continued support of WTAMU’s presence in Amarillo, Dr. Paul Matney, president of Amarillo College, and Dr. J. Patrick O’Brien, WTAMU president,  have agreed to the renewal of the “Destination WT” partnership agreement between AC and WTAMU. The original agreement was signed in 2010 to save participating community college students time and money when taking the next step toward their educational goals.

“The response to the Amarillo Center over the past six years has been overwhelming,” O’Brien said. “We started with two floors and quickly added a third floor, but increasing enrollments and the addition of new programs requires additional space. Having the extra space in a stand-alone building is an exciting venture not only for the University but also for our students and the community. It also makes a statement that WT has a permanent presence in Amarillo. We are thankful to AEDC for helping make this a reality and to Dr. Matney and Amarillo College for their continued partnership with WT.”

University officials will soon form an advisory committee comprised of business leaders, city officials and educators to provide input on how to best support the Amarillo and Panhandle communities.

The WTAMU Amarillo Center opened in the fall of 2008 to offer the convenience of upper level and graduate classes in a downtown location. A majority of the course offerings at the time were business and education courses and since then, class offerings have expanded to include everything from criminal justice and marketing to history and psychology.


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