About a decade in the making, the Alamo Colleges District’s move to one central office space near the Pearl will be complete by July, with a grand opening in the middle of the month.
Close to 600 employees will move into the three-story complex in stages, with Chancellor Mike Flores’ staff being among the last to move in mid-June. Construction began in May 2017.
The space, just under 160,000 square feet, cost $55 million to build and will be funded, in part, by the sale of the Alamo University Center and soon-to-be vacant Alamo Colleges office spaces on Houston Street, Sheridan Street, and Pat Booker Road. Together, the four properties have been appraised at $17.4 million.
Alamo Colleges’ central hub sits on the former home of Playland Park, which opened in 1943. The college system purchased the site in 2008 for $4.1 million and has been formulating plans for the building and move ever since.
The new district headquarters is still under construction, with final pieces being put together or screwed into place. When finalized, the facility will boast a 300-seat board room, an outdoor amphitheater area for community events, and office space for all of Alamo Colleges’ administrative departments and 580 employees.
In the fall, Alamo Colleges plans to continue work on a future UPS store and a cyber café where employees can eat and use technology.
By bringing all main office employees onto one property, Alamo Colleges officials hope to increase collaboration between departments and create a central space for students to come for help.
“There are people that we’ve never seen,” spokeswoman Kristi Wyatt said. “Maybe you’ve seen an email from them but you may not have been in a meeting with them. This [facility] will change that.”
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The headquarters was built with an emphasis on environmental friendliness: on the third floor, the ceiling is made of glue-laminated timber that general contractor Skanska Vice President Steve Lyons said is a big trend in sustainability. The property also pays homage to a historic acequia on the site with a rock garden and uses recycled denim for insulation.