Volume 21, Issue 7 - February 17, 2023

Upcoming library projects are front and center as cities and counties upgrade facilities throughout America
By Mary Scott Nabers, CEO of Strategic Partnerships Inc.

A 2019 study pointed to an interesting trend. The data provided very compelling insights into America’s libraries. It revealed that, as libraries digitize books, magazines and services, their reach and impact become significantly greater. The number of citizens using library services increases exponentially with digitization and upgraded space. This revelation has created a paradigm shift that can now be measured in large funding allocations for projects to reimagine city, county, and state-funded library facilities. Funding for these types of projects is extremely abundant currently.

The state of Texas invests millions in local library systems annually. A Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO) for a Regional Cooperative Grant Program to fund library projects was announced recently. Disbursements for 2024 projects will be made in the next several months. Another recent NOFO issued by the Texas State Library and Archives Commission announced even more funding for library projects. 

Earlier this month, legislators in Montana introduced a bill to increase state funding for libraries annually through 2029. Just weeks ago, West Virginia celebrated Library Day and state and local leaders convened to support increasing state funding for local library projects. That group pointed to a shocking $56 million in building needs that exist at public libraries in West Virginia.

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New terminal design presented for San Antonio International Airport

San Antonio International Airport officials presented a $2.5 billion plan on Feb. 15 that proposes a third terminal. Construction could begin as early as 2024 on the new terminal at the airport. A pre-solicitation briefing for a construction manager at risk for the new terminal facility will take place in the spring or summer of 2023. The terminal, which is expected to open in five years, would be larger than the two existing terminals. The planned facility, to be built adjacent to Terminal B, would take up 850,000 square feet.   

The design phase of the project is 15% complete and is anticipated to take the remainder of 2023. The terminal’s preliminary plan includes:

  • Up to a 17-gate expansion, six of which will be able to accommodate both domestic and wide-body international flights. 
  • A landscaped, riparian paseo between the curb and the terminal references the River Walk experience and tells the story of San Antonio’s creeks and spring-fed waterways. 
  • Outdoor courtyards within the new terminal. 
  • Approximately 41,000 square feet of new concessions space (in addition to the existing 24,000 square feet) will allow the airport to feature shops and restaurants. 
  • More than 29,000 square feet of available club lounge space. 
  • Larger holdrooms (seating areas) at each gate, equipped with the latest technology. 
  • A modern Federal Inspections Service area will allow the airport to expand international air service. 
  • Roadway improvements to increase traffic flow and remove congestion along a curb front that will nearly double in length. 
  • A proposed connector between Terminals A and B, allowing passengers to pass back and forth after clearing security. 


The city plans to demolish Terminal A, at least partially, but the city isn’t planning any major work at the terminal until the new one opens in 2028, according to airport officials.

(Photo: A rendering proposal of what the front entrance of the terminal would look like. Courtesy of the San Antonio International Airport.)

Texas hydrogen hub teams seeking federal funding from Department of Energy

The Port of Corpus Christi and Trans Permian are teaming up to compete for federal funding for the development of a regional clean hydrogen hub. The joining of these two entities would meet decarbonization goals at the federal level on developing new clean energy sources and networks. 


The port plans to submit a joint application to the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) seeking money from the Regional Clean Hydrogen Hubs Program. Plans for Trans Permian’s H2Hub include the cities of Fort Stockton, Presidio, Del Rio, San Antonio, Big Spring, Odessa, El Paso, Midland, and San Angelo.  

The planned projects within the Trans Permian H2Hub include production and hydrogen derivatives from diverse feedstocks as well as mobility projects, including hydrogen fuel cell bus manufacturing, hydrogen refueling stations, municipal transit projects and freight mobility projects. 

The Port of Corpus Christi Horizons Clean Hydrogen Hub (HCH2) has two dozen clean hydrogen production projects planned.


The HCH2 Concept Paper, submitted to the DOE on Nov. 7, names approximately 30 private sector team members as owners, developers or operators, offtakers and end users of various hydrogen value chain projects and supporting infrastructure. 

The Regional Clean Hydrogen Hubs program includes up to $7 billion to establish six to 10 regional clean hydrogen hubs across the nation. Approximately 80 proposals were submitted for federal funding.  

Another Texas contender for funding is the HyVelocity Hub team, which includes The University of Texas at Austin and The Center for Houston’s Future to name a few. The team outlines how it will accelerate the development of clean hydrogen projects in Texas, Southwest Louisiana and the U.S. Gulf Coast. Applications are due by April 2023. 

Saluting Texas Lone Stars

Dr. Brigham Willis

Founding Dean School of Medicine

The University of Texas at Tyler

Public career highlights and education: My career has always been focused on pediatrics and medical education. I always loved the process of teaching and learning, and also interacting and helping young people and children. So the two were easy choices as a focus for my work.

What I like best about my public service is: The lasting impact one can have. The chance to build something that will be there for generations, and will help everyone, is so inspiring. I really gets you out of bed every day, to know you are doing something for your family and your community. And only through united effort and action can we achieve great things. 

The best advice I’ve received is: To always make love-based decisions and not fear-based decisions. Follow your joy, and your passion, and every day of working will be fun and inspiring. And even when it is not, when there are strong headwinds or obstacles if your work is in service to something you love, it is so much easier to persevere.

People might be interested to know that: I am an avid rock climber, and used to be kind of ok at it? I have climbed for over 25 years, mainly sport climbing, and have climbed all over the world!

One thing I wished more people knew about The University of Texas at Tyler is: How incredibly innovative and dedicated the people of the University and the community are. I have never felt so appreciated and supported, and the energy around what we are doing is sustaining and infectious. It is truly a unique place to be, and I can’t wait for what the future holds.

$181M Pearland bond will prioritize drainage

On May 6, the Pearland community will vote on a $181.3 million bond that focuses on 14 drainage projects and additional infrastructure improvement packages. The bond will be divided into four propositions and voted on individually.

Proposition A is requesting $105.5 million for 14 street and neighborhood drainage projects. Proposition B will include $26.1 million in street, sidewalk and bridge projects. Proposition C’s $33.7 million will support two park and recreation projects. Proposition D would allocate $15.9 million for the construction of a new fire station. 

Drainage projects include Veterans Drive, the southwest quadrant of Old Town, Shady Crest and Creek View subdivisions and the roadside ditch projects at Longwood Estates. Funding of $10.9 million will be needed for Veterans Drive and $10.2 million for Old Town. The Texas General Land Office has already funded $14 million for improvements to the Hickory Creek and Garden Acre subdivisions. 

Street and sidewalk improvements will include $10.7 million for construction on Hughes Road consisting of road widening and a new bridge, and $15.4 million will finance the replacement of city sidewalks. The park projects include the Hickory Slough Sportsplex and Independence Park. 

If passed, the bond will have an impact on the city’s tax rate. 

Texas governor announces seven emergency items during 2023 State of the State address

Gov. Greg Abbott delivered his 2023 State of the State address on Feb. 16, and shared his priorities for the 88th legislative session. 

During the address, Abbott focused on seven emergency items: 

  • Reducing property taxes. 
  • Ending COVID-19 restrictions forever in Texas. 
  • School safety.  
  • Educational freedom, specifically for parents' rights. 
  • Ending the "revolving door bail." 
  • Securing the U.S.-Mexico border. 
  • Fighting the fentanyl crisis. 

Among his emergency items, Abbott called for legislation to permanently prevent COVID-19 mandates, like local requirements to wear masks, get vaccines and shut down businesses. For school safety, Abbott wants to provide funding for every school campus to make necessary school safety improvements, including technology upgrades, hardening equipment and expanded mental health resources.  

In an effort to secure the Texas border, the governor is requesting another $4.6 billion. This funding is in addition to the $4 billion that has already been secured. To provide property tax relief, Abbott wants to use $15 billion to cut property taxes and lower the school district maintenance and operations tax rates by increasing the tax rate compression.  

View all press releases of Abbott’s emergency items here.  

Port of Galveston leaders lobbying for $44M in federal funding

Port of Galveston leaders took a trip to Austin Feb. 14 with a goal to get $44 million in funding that they qualify for from the federal American Rescue Act. The federal government gave Texas $16 billion to support transportation systems, but Texas does not recognize

maritime infrastructure as transportation.

Even though the state does have the authority to transfer funds from federal allocations to public seaports, it chooses not to, according to Port of Galveston officials.  

The port needs the money to make up for the $58 million lost during COVID-19. Port officials plan to use the money for major capital and rehabilitation projects including expansions of cargo complexes and the rehabilitation of docks. 

The port did receive a $340,000 grant from the Texas Department of Transportation to create a comprehensive road safety action plan as well as 75% of funding for a $2.6 million internal roadway project that is in the design phase. The port also has plans to fill in the decades-old Slip 38 for $25 million which will be funded by port revenues and other sources. The funding will also contribute to the installation of a new bulkhead at piers 39 through 40 for $24 million and fill slips 40 through 41 for $30 million. 

GLO announces $12M for disaster recovery funds

The Texas General Land Office (GLO) Commissioner announced $12.5 million in disaster recovery funds for 13 infrastructure projects to help Texas communities repair streets, drainage systems, sewer systems and stormwater improvements.

Communities approved to receive funding from the cities of Alamo, Alton, Combes, Donna, Edinburg, La Feria, La Villa, Mercedes, Mission, Palmview, Progreso, Rio Hondo and Hidalgo County.

The city of Alton will receive $1 million for drainage improvements. The city will grade roadside swales, install culverts in driveways and roadways, upgrade stormwater systems with area inlets and reinforced concrete pipes and reconstruct asphalt roadways.

A total of $1 million will support the city of Combes with sewer improvements. The project will reduce excess inflow and infiltration from existing lift stations to prevent overflowing wastewater. Improvements will include replacing or rehabilitating more than 200 manhole covers, pavement repairs, erosion control and traffic control.

Hidalgo County was approved for $1 million for stormwater improvements. The project will update the primary drainage outfall and extend the Palmview Lateral Drainage Channel by approximately one mile to increase stormwater capacity. The county will construct a 5.2-acre retention pond and rehabilitate or construct 10,000 cubic yards of embankment.

The city of La Feria was granted $1 million for drainage improvements. The city will install more than 100 linear feet of reinforced concrete pipe, 700 linear feet of concrete lining, widen the existing drainage channel and rehabilitate culverts. 

Victoria College calls for $10M bond election

Victoria College’s (VC) Board of Trustees has called a May 6 bond election for the construction of a $10 million Student Success Center. The project includes a three-story expansion and renovation of the existing center. This comes from VC’s 2016-2025 Facilities Master Plan which includes the Student Success Center as the main building to serve as the front of campus. 

The total cost of construction and renovation is expected to be $36.5 million. Nearly 75% of funding is already committed through grants, gifts and institutional funds. If the bond is approved, construction would begin in the fall and be completed in 2025. 

The proposed bond would result in a tax rate increase of 0.21 cents per $100 of valuation for three years for the debt service portion of property taxes used to pay bonds.

(Photo: Victoria College Student Center. Courtesy of explorevictoriatexas.com.)

HCFCD targeting Buffalo Bayou for flood mitigation 

The Harris County Flood Control District (HCFCD) and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers have reached an agreement on continuing the Buffalo Bayou and Tributaries Study targeting western Harris County, Addicks, Barker, Cypress Creek, Brays and White Oak Bayou watersheds. Per the new agreement, the HCFCD will temporarily take the lead on analyzing alternative solutions to flooding in the area and will also contribute additional funding and technical assistance. 

The Army Corps launched the Buffalo Bayou study after Hurricane Harvey in 2017. The goal of the study is to find a long-term solution to reduce flood risks to the communities within the Buffalo Bayou, Addicks and Baker watersheds. The HCFCD has been analyzing the use of underground flood tunnels throughout Harris County and is considering approaches that would produce the largest benefit to affected communities. 

The goals of the study are to find a cost-effective and implementable solution to reduce flood risk and secure federal funding for the design and construction of the said solution. The HCFCD will have approximately one year for analysis, and then the Army Corps will complete the study by 2026.

Texas A&M approves a $65M increase for Fort Worth campus

Texas A&M has approved an increase in its budget to build on its existing campus in downtown Fort Worth. The university will spend $150 million on a Law & Education building. The original cost was $85 million. The law school building is one of three buildings proposed for the downtown campus.

Procurement, design and construction of the Research and Innovation building and the Gateway conference center and offices will take place at a later date.  

The existing campus is comprised of four city blocks in a "T" shape with three independently phased building sites. The Fort Worth Law & Education Building will be located within the southern block of the campus and is the first phase of the expanding campus.

Construction will begin this summer with an estimated 2025 completion. It will be approximately 225,000 square feet and nine stories. The Texas A&M School of Law will bring together programming from Texas A&M University, Tarleton State University and several A&M agencies.


The law building will be financed with bonds backed by the Permanent University Fund and other sources. The other two facilities, the Research and Innovation building and the Gateway conference center and offices, will be financed with city-issued bonds secured by leases to the A&M System and private sector development firms. 

(Photo: Rendering of Texas A&M Fort Worth development. Courtesy of Texas A&M.)

Northlake seeks $45M for sports facility

Northlake City Council has called for a special election to approve construction of a $45 million sports facility. 

The proposed 165,000-square-foot sports complex will include two ice rinks and six hard courts for sports like basketball, volleyball and other athletic activities. The city intends to host competitions and tournaments at the facility. 

The sports complex will be owned by the city, but it will be maintained and operated by a lessee. If approved, the complex could be constructed and operational by 2027. The proposition will be on the ballot in the May 6 general election.  

$8.5M approved for the Historic Will Rogers Coliseum

The Fort Worth City Council approved $8.5 million from the city’s American Rescue Plan Act Revenue funds for improvements to the Will Rogers Coliseum. The coliseum is the iconic center piece of the Will Rogers Memorial Center and hosts the Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo as well as other significant equestrian events.


Built in 1936 and last updated in the 70’s, the coliseum is due for a facelift. Funding will be devoted to the grand lobby entrance, concourse, restrooms and Backstage Club. The 5,203 square-foot space will be reconfigured to serve a broader spectrum of event needs while still respecting its historic significance. 

A request for quotes for design work and construction bids will be issued soon and construction is expected to begin within a year. 

(Photo: Will Rogers Memorial Center. Courtesy of the city of Fort Worth.)

Emergency facilities coming to Killeen

Killeen City Council approved a $1.3 million contract with an architecture firm to design a new emergency operations center and fire center. 

The multi-use facility will be built on a 15-acre property acquired by the city last year. It will have combined fire and paramedic response operations, fire training, fire support services, Emergency Operations Center offices, training classrooms and a maintenance building. 

The emergency operations center will be used to train fire personnel and city employees on emergency response and will provide support for declared emergencies. The construction of a new fire station will improve response times and add needed resources to the city’s fire department. 

Construction of the emergency operations center will cost $11.9 million and will be funded by the American Rescue Plan Act. The new fire station will cost $7.5 million to build. The city will pay for the fire station with excess funds from fiscal year 2021. 

Viles to join UT Health San Antonio as chief operating officer

Jeremy Viles has been appointed to an executive role at The University of Texas Health San Antonio Multispecialty and Research Hospital. The new hospital, currently under construction, will offer leading cancer treatment and specialties including neuroscience, orthopaedics, urology, thoracic surgery and bariatrics to residents of South Texas.

Viles will serve as the hospital’s inaugural chief operating officer, effective Jan. 3. He has held roles at UT Health San Antonio as assistant vice president for hospital planning, chief nursing officer of the Mays Cancer Center and assistant dean of clinical practice in the UT Health San Antonio School of Nursing. 

Morrison selected as TVCC president

Trinity Valley Community College (TVCC) Trustees have announced Dr. Jason Morrison as the sole finalist for the president position. Morrison is currently chancellor of Southern Arkansas University (SAU) Tech. He has held his position at SAU Tech since 2017.

The announcement on Feb. 15 triggers the 21-day waiting period before Morrison can be confirmed. The search for TVCC’s next president began last August after Dr. Jerry King announced his retirement. 

Attaway appointed to Quitman city administrator

Lt. Col. James Attaway is retiring after 24 years of service in the United States Army and is replacing Quitman City Administrator Rodney Kieke, effective May 1. Kieke, who has been part of the growth in new businesses and sales tax in Quitman for the past four years, will be transitioning to other interests.

Attaway is currently on assignment in San Antonio at Fort Sam Houston where he is the chief operations officer. 


Gov. Greg Abbott announced these appointments and reappointments from Feb. 10 through Feb. 16:

Industry-Based Certification Advisory Council

Donna McKethan - Waco (reappointed)

Texas Historical Records Advisory Board

Tara Turk-Zaafran - Houston (reappointed)

Camino Real Regional Mobility Authority

Joyce Wilson - El Paso (reappointed)

Sulphur Regional Mobility Authority

Jay Hodge - Paris (reappointed)

Texas Military Preparedness Commission

(all reappointed)

Tom Duncavage  - League City

Benjamin Miranda Jr. - El Paso

Annette L. Sobel - Lubbock

Michael Bob Starr - Abilene

Timothy "Bounce" Strawther - Fredericksburg

Appraisal Management Companies Advisory Committee

Raheela Ahsan - Dallas

Texas Holocaust, Genocide, And Antisemitism Advisory Commission

Jeffrey Beck - Dallas

Kenneth “Kenny” Goldberg - Dallas

110th Judicial District Attorney

Emil Teegardin - Quitaque

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