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Glenn Hegar
Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts
Glenn Hegar
Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts
Glenn Hegar
Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts

Texas Toasts: A Roundup of Bright Economic News in Texas

By David Bloom

STEM Center Coming to SFASU

A new $46 million, state-of-the-art building for science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) coursework is taking shape at Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches. Scheduled to open in fall 2018, the Ed and Gwen Cole STEM building will be the new hub for SFA students pursuing careers in these fields.

Photo courtesy of Stephen F. Austin State University

The building will feature a planetarium with a 52-foot dome and “makerspaces,” special areas where students can collaborate on creating prototypes and other constructions. Tuition revenue bonds appropriated during the 2015 legislative session provided funding for the new center, which will house the school’s department of physics and astronomy and department of computer science.

Learn more about Stephen F. Austin State University and its academic programs.


Vet School to Amarillo?

One small item in the massive 2018-19 Texas state budget could have a big effect on Amarillo. The new budget appropriates $4.1 million in exploratory funding for a proposed Texas Tech veterinary school in the Panhandle city.

The funds will be used for a detailed feasibility study of the project. The city’s economic development pros think it could be a huge hit for the community and its economy; the Amarillo Economic Development Corporation has offered Texas Tech $15 million in incentives to pursue the project.

According to Texas Tech University System board chair Rick Francis, “stay tuned.”


Plano’s the Place

For more and more companies, Plano’s the place to be.

A recent purchase by Boston-based Liberty Mutual Insurance will anchor the city’s Legacy West development. The company’s newly-constructed, 1.1 million-square-foot office complex represents a major commitment to North Texas, as do the 5,000-plus Liberty Mutual employees who will work in the facility.

Legacy West, a $3.2 billion, 250-acre “urban village” opened in June, features 300,000 square feet of retail and restaurant space, 300,000 square feet of office space, more than a thousand apartments and a high-rise hotel. Some of the biggest names in retail have already dropped anchor at Legacy West, from Coach and Tommy Bahama to Tesla and West Elm.

In addition to Liberty Mutual, Legacy West has also attracted other corporate icons. Toyota has its North American headquarters there, and Boeing is establishing a division headquarters in the center. JP Morgan Chase has begun moving employees in as well.

At the June ribbon-cutting, Plano mayor Harry LaRosiliere said “Welcome to the center of the universe.” While astronomers may not agree, there’s no disputing the fact that Plano is thriving. FN  

Texas Toasts is an occasional series highlighting good news in the Texas Economy.

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