UT Permian Basin to Lease Land

By Camaron Abundes
NewsWest 9

ODESSA- The prairie dogs at UT Permian Basin may soon have to find a new home, that's because the University plans to lease off parts of it's property, to help offset the cost of tuition.

"The funds from the lease payments will go to support the general operations of the University," said Chris Forrest, vice president for business affairs for UTPB who says state funding remains tight, "We are looking for additional resources to meet the needs of our students without having to increase tuition."

Businesses have until February 1st to submit proposals, a committee, yet to be selected will determine which business best matches the style an architecture of the University.

"We're hoping the developers will come up with some interesting and creative things," Forrest said.

Almost 70 acres are up for grabs including land at the corner of JBS Parkway and University, and 42nd Street and JBS Parkway, and another tract near East Loop 338.

"The growth in Odessa has been on this side of town, University, 42nd Street and JBS Parkway, are the key roads in the traffic patterns," said Forrest, who adds the multi-year lease plan will allow the University to reclaim the land at a later date.

"Personally, I think it's a good idea," said Freshman Curtis Brewer who says it will help draw future students to campus.

The new development will change the view of campus, but Forrest argues not all open spaces will be covered.

"I look out there, and I see open space, but it's not really, majestic or beautiful," said Andrew Torres who is excited about the plan.