UT and Texas Southmost College sign lease agreements for separation of campuses

BROWNSVILLE – Leaders from The University of Texas System and Texas Southmost College met today for a momentous step as UT Brownsville and Texas Southmost College begin the separation process after two decades of sharing a campus, resources and programs.

UT System Chancellor Francisco G. Cigarroa and TSC President Lily F. Tercero signed agreements for leases and land transactions that clearly define both campuses, granting them separate identities for the first time in 20 years.

Under the agreement, both institutions will exchange, sell or lease property and buildings. TSC will receive the Science, Engineering and Technology Building; assignment of UT’s purchase contract with the City of Brownsville for the purchase of the National Guard Armory building; and an approximately $28.5 million payment for the sale of acreage, buildings and agreed-upon reimbursement for TSC improvements. In exchange, UT will receive several tracts of land and buildings, surface parking lots, the Student Union Building and TSC’s University Boulevard Library and Classroom buildings. UT will also continue to lease several buildings on the TSC campus. TSC students will continue to have access to the library. 

TSC will retain ownership of the Recreation, Education and Kinesiology Center; however, UT will continue to pay its share of the bond debt and students enrolled at the local UT campus will continue to have access to the center. Additionally, both institutions have agreed to a fair and equitable distribution of personal property, which ensures that both entities will be ready to serve students by the fall 2013 semester.  

These transactions will benefit the development of both campuses, establishing two great higher education institutions that adjoin each other along Ringgold Street, with Texas Southmost College on the west and The University of Texas on the east.

Cigarroa thanked the leadership of Texas Southmost College and UT Brownsville, congratulating both institutions on their accomplishments over the past 20 years. He said both institutions will continue to serve the students of the Rio Grande Valley, providing opportunity through education.

“My vision is for students to have seamless transitions from elementary school all the way through high school and undergraduate studies to medical school, graduate school or other professional programs,” Cigarroa said. “Texas Southmost College and UT Brownsville can make that a reality in this region. Today’s signing is a very positive step in that direction.”

Tercero thanked the TSC Board of Trustees, the UT System Board of Regents, Cigarroa and UT System Executive Vice Chancellor Pedro Reyes for their visionary leadership. “TSC is back! We are starting our 88th year of service to our community,” Tercero said. “We are proud of the contributions TSC has made towards the development of The University of Texas in Cameron County and look forward to our new collaborative relationship with the valley-wide University of Texas.”

Cigarroa was in Brownsville earlier this month to celebrate the signing of legislation that authorizes the creation of a new UT institution in the Rio Grande Valley. It will unite the assets and resources of UT Brownsville and UT Pan American to create a unified research university with a medical school.

“We have not yet worked out every detail of this development, and we continue to seek the advice of Valley educators and business and community leaders to help us shape what is to come,” Cigarroa said. “We have admiration and respect for the leadership of TSC and we invite their support and wise counsel as our future plans unfold.”

About The University of Texas System

Educating students, providing care for patients, conducting groundbreaking research and serving the needs of Texans and the nation for more than 130 years, The University of Texas System is one of the largest public university systems in the United States, with nine academic universities, six health institutions and a fall 2012 enrollment of roughly 216,000. The UT System confers more than one-third of the state’s undergraduate degrees, educates two-thirds of the state’s health care professionals annually and accounts for almost 70 percent of all research funds awarded to public universities in Texas. The UT System has an annual operating budget of $13.9 billion (FY 2013) including $3.1 billion in sponsored programs funded by federal, state, local and private sources. With more than 87,000 employees, the UT System is one of the largest employers in the state.

About Texas Southmost College

Originally established in 1926, Texas Southmost College has been offering the first two years toward a bachelor’s degree along with career and technical education leading to certificates of completion and associate degrees, developmental education to prepare students for college-level work, workforce training, and continuing education through a 20-year contractual arrangement. TSC will, once again, return to its original purpose when it becomes independently operational in fall 2013. 

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