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Senator Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa: District 20
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Press Release
May 15, 2006
Contact: Melissa del Bosque
(512) 463-0120 office
Legislation for $84.7 Million in new Construction Money for Universities on its Way to the Governor's Desk

AUSTIN -- Senator Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa announced Monday that $84.7 million in tuition revenue bond money for universities in Hidalgo and Nueces counties had been approved by the House and is on its way to the Governor's desk.

Overall, HB 153 included $1.8 billion in tuition revenue bond money for universities across the state.

HB 153 contained $45 million for a nursing, health sciences and kinesiology facility at the Texas A&M Corpus Christi campus.

"We are experiencing a crisis in the number of nurse graduates we have in Texas, and this facility will be key in helping train more nurses to meet that shortage," Senator Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa said. "This facility will also include a physical rehabilitation program, which is one of the fastest growing programs in our state."

Dr. Flavius Killebrew, president of Texas A&M Corpus Christi, said the funding will help the university alleviate some of its growth issues.

"I want to thank Senator Hinojosa and Rep. Vilma Luna, Rep. Abel Herrero and Rep. Gene Seaman for their shared efforts in getting the nursing facility into the TRB bill," Dr. Killebrew said. "This will help greatly in reducing the university's space deficit."

The Senate also approved $39,796,000 for a fine arts academic and performance complex at the University of Texas -- Pan American in Edinburg.

The facility will include classrooms, practice rooms and event space with seating for 4,000 to 7,500 people.

"Many of UTPA's facilities were built in 1969 when UTPA's enrollment was 4,612. Today we have an enrollment of 17,000 students," Senator Juan "Chuy" Hinojosa said. "This is going to be a top-of-the-line fine arts facility that will accommodate our growing population of students."

Dr. Blandina "Bambi" Cardenas, president of UTPA, said passage of the TRB bill was vital for the university's future growth.

"These TRBs are critical to UTPA's continuing growth and to the state's goal of closing the gaps. I am most grateful to Senator Hinojosa and the entire delegation for their strong advocacy for the needs of UTPA and our students."

Senator Hinojosa said the passage of the bill was due to the hard work of the entire valley delegation. Rep. Veronica Gonzales, Rep. Aaron Peña, Rep. Armando Martinez and Rep. Kino Flores all worked to have UTPA included in the TRB bill, he said.

"We all worked very hard on this bill, both in the House and the Senate, and we could never have accomplished this without everyone's participation and commitment to this bill's passing," said Senator Hinojosa.