Del Mar College Celebrates New Era as Southside Campus Construction Gets Underway
Article by: Melinda Eddleman
Envisioning a southside presence began in 2009. Ten years later, Del Mar College (DMC) Board of Regents members, College leadership and employees and invited guests marked a new era in the community college’s history –– the start of construction of a new campus in Corpus Christi.
Where farm fields, chicken coops and livestock used to reside, the College held a Southside Campus Project Celebration on Dec. 2 on the 96-acre site where the campus will sit at Yorktown Boulevard and Rodd Field Road. To launch the next step of this project, guests saw a video leading up to the final campus design.
The landscape of Corpus Christi’s Southside is changing for good, and with it, the educational offerings at Del Mar College are taking a leap into the future. It’s been a long journey to get to this point. We wouldn’t be here today if it weren’t for the support of the community and many key groups in our city.
During the event, guests visited with faculty and students from three areas of study identified as “Centers for Excellence” that will be located on the new campus –– including 1) Architecture and Drafting Technology; 2) Biology, Biotechnology and Biomanufacturing (bio-sciences) and 3) Hospitality and Culinary Arts. Displays and demonstrations featured hand-built architectural models and design renderings, scientific posters reflecting regional and national award-winning student biotechnology research and active cooking and cake decorating showcasing culinary wonders.
The Southside Campus Project is already underway with infrastructure and Central Plant foundational work (Project 1). The DMC Board of Regents’ final design, budget and contractor approval in early October moves the project forward with the construction of the Main, STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) and Hospitality and Culinary Institute facilities (Project 2).
After referring to residential Southside growth and the Corpus Christi Independent School District’s new high schools, Scott noted, “Del Mar College must grow with the community in order to continue offering the excellent higher educational opportunities our residents deserve and to ensure our students have the knowledge and skills they need to be competitive in the local and global economies.”
In a few short years, where you’re sitting now will be Del Mar College’s third campus. To put it in perspective, the last time we built a new campus was over 60 years ago…so thank you to the residents of Corpus Christi for supporting this new chapter in Del Mar College’s history.
Construction of a new campus hasn’t occurred since the College began building in 1958 what is now the West Campus.
Del Mar College District taxpayers approved a $139 million Capital Improvement Project (CIP) bond referendum supporting construction of the southside campus in November 2016. The Board approved the $6 million purchase of 96 acres located at Yorktown Boulevard and Rodd Field Road in 2013 after a Facility Master Plan produced in 2012 assessed renovation and expansion of current facilities and additional buildings on the East and West Campuses and a new southside campus as part of a 20-year vision and 10-year plan. The College identified more than $397 million in total facilities needs at that time.
Development of the Southside Campus Master Plan used $1.8 million earmarked specifically for that purpose as part of the 2014 CIP bond referendum that taxpayers passed to address needs on the East and West campuses.
Anticipated to open in 2022, the Southside Campus Project incorporates construction of 249,544 square feet of building space, including the:
- Central Plant (8,631 sq. ft.) as part of physical facilities operations,
- Hospitality and Culinary Institute (59,561 sq. ft.) housing ultramodern teaching spaces including kitchen labs, a coffee shop and a public-accessible restaurant/dining facility to provide students with hands-on, real-world learning experiences,
- Main Building (80,437 sq. ft.) housing the library, student services, community meeting spaces and a coffee shop, and
- STEM Building (100,915 sq. ft.) housing the Architecture/Drafting Technology program and Biology, Biotechnology and Biomanufacturing programs with contemporary teaching spaces, laboratories and equipment, along with other STEM-related programs, including engineering.
In addition to the Centers for Excellence, the campus will provide core courses taken by university-transfer students, along with dual credit, developmental, workforce training and continuing education courses.
“The Southside campus features ‘Centers for Excellence’ with programs that embody the high standards that faculty and students have exceeded, putting Del Mar College on the map regionally and nationally across different fields,” Escamilla said before the Dec. 2 celebration. “The new campus will give these programs the ability to expand and also address other educational needs as the Southside community continues to grow.”
College officials estimate enrollment at the new campus at 3,500 students the first year. DMC fall 2019 data shows that 41 percent of the 12,008 students enrolled (certified enrollment) this semester come from Southside ZIP codes.
Located on an “educational corridor” along Yorktown Boulevard, the Southside campus will provide close access to four high schools –– Mary Carroll, Veterans Memorial, Flour Bluff and London –– and is only 15 minutes away from Texas A&M University-Corpus Christi and 30 minutes from Texas A&M University-Kingsville.
Our vision and planning did not just address the near future. The new campus takes into account what the Corpus Christi and neighboring communities may need 100 or more years from now.
Del Mar College empowers students to achieve their dreams. We offer quality programs, individual attention, outstanding instruction through faculty with real-world experience and affordable costs to credit and noncredit students in Corpus Christi and the South Texas Coastal Bend area. Nationally recognized while locally focused, we’re ranked in the top two percent of community colleges in the country granting associate degrees to Hispanic students (Community College Week). Del Mar College focuses on offering our students programs that match current or emerging career opportunities. Whether students are interested in the fine arts, sciences, business, occupational or technical areas, students get the education they need for the future they want at Del Mar College.