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(Texas City)—This spring semester promises to be one
many COM students will never forget.
Fifty-one years after the college was founded, the
campus is about to begin the first phase of a major
“overhaul”—with extensive renovation projects beginning
on the college’s aging infrastructure, its familiar Student
Center, gymnasium, and chemistry lab.
Funds for these renovations comes from a $16.9 million
maintenance tax bond approved by the Board of
Trustees in October.
“Our facilities have served several generations of students,”
said President Dr. Warren Nichols., “but upgrades
are overdue. The board and administration are taking
bold steps to create a first-class learning environment for
our students, and do it this year. We can’t afford to wait
any longer.”
Work crews will begin the first project later in January—
replacing underground pipes and utilities.
Then, in short order, students will see scaffolding
and construction equipment on campus as crews begin
modernizing the college’s Physical Education building, a
familiar landmark on campus.
Plans developed by PBK Architects of League City and
approved by trustees call for the existing swimming pool,
now out of service, to be infilled and the space converted
into a multipurpose facility.
The space will serve as a multipurpose room offering
up to 560 seats in a lecture style configuration, and an
additional 360 seats positioned around moveable tables.
The room will be able to operate as one large room, or
easily subdivided into three smaller meeting rooms.
Additional building enhancements include new restrooms,
a prep room, furniture storage, a conference
room, and an exterior drop-off lane with canopies and
terrace seating. Modernization of the facility also includes
upgrading the existing locker and shower rooms, as well
as the fitness center rooms around the existing gym.
Once completed, the new space will serve as a temporary
home to employees of the Student Center building,
which will undergo its own major facelift.
According to plans, all exterior brick (masonry) walls
will be removed and replaced with new metal stud walls,
insulation and brick.
1200 Amburn Lane
Texas City, TX 77591
“The design solution will enable compliance with current
codes for energy and wind ratings, as well as cladding
the existing cantilever with metal panels and adding
ribbon windows for the offices that currently do not have
windows,” said Alan Stilts, associate principal for PBK.
An outside terrace will be added to the north façade
adjacent to the existing lake, along with a canopy and
sunlight screens to aid in shading the terrace and existing
curtain wall glass (double height space) inside the
Student Center.
The south façade will receive a canopy and partial
second-floor lobby addition over the main entrance.
Interior upgrades include new ceilings, lighting, and
flooring throughout the building, as well as converting
the existing kitchen into a café retail convenience store
for students.
The college will also modernize an existing chemistry
lab into a state-of-the-art learning environment for
approximately $1.2 million.
Renovations include removing all existing casework,
flooring, workstations, ceilings, instructor station, and
down-draft fume ventilation systems.
The orientation of the room will be modified to maximize
student views and instructor oversight by utilizing
new Axis student workstations with built-in sinks, power
and gas.
All projects are expected to be completed before classes
open for the fall 2018 semester next August.

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