BRENHAM, Texas -- The Blinn Board of Trustees has voted to halt construction on their new Bryan campus.
On Tuesday, the Board announced the school will join Texas A&M University at its new RELLIS Campus, formerly the Riverside campus. The move will cost between $24 and $31 million, compared to the $46.5 million planned for the Harvey Mitchell Parkway location.
The president of Blinn said the savings in cost and the opportunity for students made switching gears on their project a simple decision.
"When you have a good idea and you see something innovative in front of you, you want to grasp that," said Dr. Mary Hensley, the president of Blinn. "It was not difficult at all to change gears from the everyday operations of an institution to embrace something that is stellar, innovative, forward thinking, and exciting for all for our students."
The timeline for the new RELLIS development is still in the works. Blinn plans to open their facility in 2018. Blinn's Board of Trustees has not made any decision on what will happen with the property off Harvey Mitchell Parkway.
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COLLEGE STATION, Texas - Texas A&M has invited Blinn College to build new facilities at its new research and development facilities.
The RELLIS Campus will include seven new buildings to help students bring their ideas from the labs to production. Now, prior to the invitation Blinn started developing land in Bryan specifically focused on science, technology engineering and math. However, with the new offer the Blinn board will hold a special meeting to discuss stopping construction at the site in Bryan and building a new facility at Rellis
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The Texas A&M University System has invited Blinn College to build facilities at the newly announced RELLIS Campus, formerly Riverside campus, that would allow the community college to enter into innovative partnerships with the universities of the Texas A&M System.
John Sharp, Chancellor of The Texas A&M University System, recently unveiled plans to invest $150 million to create a new research and development campus to help companies move ideas from the laboratory to the marketplace while also offering a new path toward a college degree.
The RELLIS Campus initially would include seven new buildings, and companies would be invited to construct their own research facilities on the 2,000-acre site. The focus would include robotics, driverless and connected vehicles, advanced manufacturing, large-scale testing, as well as smart power grids and water systems.
A planned education center would offer students the opportunity to pursue four-year degrees from Texas A&M System universities that participate at RELLIS.
At a special meeting on Tuesday, May 31, 2016, the Blinn board will consider halting construction on its site at 851 N. Harvey Mitchell Parkway in Bryan and constructing a new facility on a ground lease at the RELLIS Campus. Prior to receiving The Texas A&M System's invitation, Blinn had begun developing the Bryan site for a new campus that would allow the College to develop additional, science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and other core curriculum offerings, and expand its workforce, technical, and research programs.
"We believe RELLIS represents a unique opportunity for Blinn College and we are glad the Trustees are considering it," Chancellor Sharp said. "It will be a great opportunity for thousands of young Texans as well."
The RELLIS Campus is named for the Texas Aggies' core values of respect, excellence, leadership, loyalty, integrity, and selfless service.
"This proposal has the potential to strengthen the Blinn College District's exceptional reputation for leadership and innovation," said David Sommer, Blinn College Board President. "This invitation reflects Blinn's longstanding tradition of partnering with the state's leading institutions, and our community, to the benefit of students and taxpayers."
"The trustees and I are honored to have been invited to partner with the Texas A&M System on the RELLIS Campus," said Dr. Mary Hensley, Blinn District President/CEO. "The vision for this campus and the opportunity to establish a national model for collaboration between universities and community colleges is extremely exciting."
Blinn College and Texas A&M University have a proud history of cutting-edge, innovative partnerships. Since 2001, the Texas A&M-Blinn TEAM (Transfer Enrollment at A&M) Program has served as the nation's model for a collaborative, co-enrollment partnership between a major university and a community college. The TEAM Program has allowed thousands of additional qualified students to earn their degree from Texas A&M while enjoying the benefits of enrollment at both institutions, and in 2014 the program received the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board's coveted Star Award as one of the top educational initiatives in Texas.
Texas A&M and Blinn built upon the TEAM Program's success with the Texas A&M Engineering Academy at Blinn-Bryan and the Texas A&M Engineering Academy at Blinn-Brenham, offering students additional pathways to pursue an engineering degree from Texas A&M and helping to meet the nationwide demand for highly skilled engineering graduates.
About The Texas A&M University System
The Texas A&M University System is one of the largest systems of higher education in the nation, with a budget of $4.2 billion. Through a statewide network of 11 universities, seven state agencies, two service units and a comprehensive health science center, the Texas A&M System educates more than 140,000 students and makes more than 22 million additional educational contacts through service and outreach programs each year. System-wide, externally funded research expenditures exceed $932 million and help drive the state's economy. To learn more, visit www.tamus.edu.
About Blinn College
With an enrollment of 19,422 students, Blinn ranks among the nation's leaders in transferring students to leading four-year universities and has received national recognition for affordable educational excellence. For more information, visit www.blinn.edu.