Word that Texas A&M University at Galveston is partnering with a private group to build a 612-bed dormitory on Pelican Island set off the usual shock waves. People who develop real estate objected that the $55 million project would cut into the private market.

It’s much the same argument that critics of public housing have made. Students are generally low income. Some wags wondered whether anyone would sue, since this plan concentrates all these low-income people into an area north of Broadway, the traditional home to some of the island’s poorest neighborhoods.

If you can cut through the usual Galveston banter, though, the striking thing about this news is that it suggests the enormous potential for growth of this campus.

We’ve said this before, but A&M Chancellor John Sharp’s vision of a campus with 20,000 students seems entirely realistic.

All Galvestonians ought to be pushing that idea — and pushing for a new bridge to Pelican Island.

(4) comments

Brian Cann

"Some wags wondered if anyone would sue.......". Some wags evidently like to compare apples to oranges. Would these "wags" rather live next to a dorm full of marine biologists or next door to the projects?

I hope A&M Galveston expands to a 20K student university. That would be huge to the economic growth of this island.

A look at Oxford MS, home of Ole Miss (University of Mississippi). It is a town that has no industry, zero, nada, nothing. But it is booming because of the university. The town, in the 90's, had about 15K residents while the school had roughly the same amount of students. Now, both the number of students and residents has doubled. Friends say the economy is really sound and growing. Ole Miss has tons of dorms but still can't fit all the students so rental property is hot,hot,hot. My point is, we can do that here. We actually have industry, port and tourism, to help with the growth and draw of A&M Galveston. We have to overcome 2 problems, though.

1-Galveston is averse to change. 2-Galveston power brokers, power families, politicos, etc., can't stand someone else making money.

If we have the projects come back, nothing will change. Poverty pimps and their enablers will do what they have always done, and Galveston will get what it has always got. A big ole bag of squat!

If we can get the power players of Galveston, ( that's akin to being the worlds tallest midget), to get over their pubescent urinating contests and work together we can do something here! And get this, the power players can actually make money doing it as well! But they may have to swallow their pride, so I'm not too optimistic that it will happen.

I'm sorry, I'm rambling. Smell ya later

Steve Fouga

Rockstrongo's post literally made me laugh out loud. (The overused LOL doesn't really mean "laugh out loud," it just means polite laughter, a knowing smile, maybe a smirk, or maybe no reaction at all...)

Anyway, I would LOVE for A&M to expand! College kids are great for a community. A more upper attitude than most older more jaded folks, youthful drive and determination, a willingness to fill part-time or seasonal jobs, and possibly a desire to settle in the community after graduation.

Reading Heber's editorial, I couldn't help thinking that if Galveston absolutely must see a return of the projects, let's put them on Pelican Island...

Lars Faltskog

It would be a dream to have a large-scale undergraduate college-aged 4 year component in Galveston, similar to Sam Houston, A&M or UT. However, I see one "negative" that would make it difficult, and that is the location of Galveston.

We are on the immediate coast. Not bad in itself, but to try to leave Galveston (to go home to spring/summer/Xmas breaks) requires the traumatic and disastrous "one road only" commute up 45/Gulf freeway and into Houston. Youngsters living in Houston have a shorter, yet still traumatic commute. The remainder of the students would have to go through Houston (even more traumatic) just to get to San Antonio, Austin, Dallas, or Beaumont.

The "draw" of having colleges/universities outside of Houston is having more of a "small town" feel. That's why it's a rite of passage to spend those golden years in Huntsville, San Marcos, et cetera. At least those kiddos are leaving a hell hole (Houston, Dallas) to a college-feel good place. Even Austin has become a trecherous Houston-type place. It's traffic is horrendous. I simply don't see college kids wanting to go through Houston to get down here from Dallas to go to classes, and try to drive out of here to visit back home.

Miceal O'Laochdha

Texas A&M in Galveston is a state Maritime Academy. It also be difficult to locate it somewhere other than the water's edge. All the other state maritime academies (Maine, Mass. NY, California, Michigan) and the US Merchant Marine Academy at Kingspoint, have bravely faced and surmounted the challenge of having a maritime school as close as possible to the sea.

It is not the result of poor planning for the future that the Colorado School of Mines is located quite near mountains...

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