FEATURED: Dr. Luis “Louie” G. Alamia, PT, DPT, who serves as Secretary, Board of Trustees, Edinburg Consolidated Independent School District, helped congratulate Edinburg school graduates as part of the ceremonies held at the Bert Ogden Arena on Friday, June 2, 2023 and Saturday, June 3, 2023.
Photograph By MARK MONTEMAYOR
$44+ million Vaqueros Performance Center in Edinburg, key component for UTRGV football program, approved by UT System Board of Regents, reports Dr. Luis “Louie” G. Alamia, PT, DPT
An estimated $44+ million in funding for the Vaqueros Performance Center, a new 44,442 gross square foot facility to be built north of the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley Baseball Stadium in Edinburg, was recently approved by the UT System Board of Regents, according to Dr. Luis “Louie” G. Alamia, PT, DPT.
The complex, which is expected to open by the fall of 2025, will house the football program and be used by multiple sports upon completion, according to UTRGV leaders.
The Vaqueros Performance Center will house a new, large, state-of-the-art strength and conditioning facility for use by football and other athletics programs, an academic success center, a football locker room, football coaches’ offices, a sports medicine facility, a team room with stadium-style seating, multiple meetings rooms, and additional office space to be used by other athletics personnel.
The construction includes two practice fields that will be available for football and soccer, one which will be made of natural grass and one which will be made of synthetic turf.
“This latest action by the UT System and UTRGV leadership, along with the Board of Regents, will have significant and positive effects on our community and region, as all of us continue to prepare to welcome the UTRGV Vaqueros football team, which begins its first season in the fall of 2025,” said Alamia.
Alamia serves as Secretary, Board of Trustees, Edinburg Consolidated Independent School District.
In addition to his key leadership role with the school district, Alamia also closely monitors and supports state legislative efforts on behalf of UTRGV in Edinburg, the Texas A&M College Higher Education Center in McAllen, which is located in the Edinburg school district taxing jurisdiction, South Texas College, Texas State Technical College in Harlingen, and other post-secondary education systems that serve the Edinburg community.
“These universities and colleges affect and benefit public education, economic development and job growth in Edinburg,” he noted. “It is in the best interest of the Edinburg school board that we take active roles in the key agendas of these colleges and universities, and that we work closely with our state lawmakers, and the leaders for those higher education systems, to make sure all of them succeed for the Edinburg school district.”
Guy Bailey, President, UT Rio Grande Valley, made his presentation before the UT System Board of Regents on Wednesday, August 23, 2023.
His comments are available online at:
from 2:00:23 through 2:03.18 in the timeline of the video.
Earlier this year, Chasse Conque, Vice President and Director of Athletics, UT Rio Grande Valley, providedadvanced details on the value of the planned facility to the university, Edinburg, and the Rio Grande Valley.
“This is the next big step in sport expansion as we get our football program ready for its practice year in 2024 before taking the field in 2025. The Vaqueros Performance Center will be a home of which our football program can be proud and will rival that of any Division I FCS program in the country,” said Conque. “The ability to open a state-of-the-art facility like the Vaqueros Performance Center is transformational for our entire athletics department as we add significant capacity in strength and conditioning, academic support, and sports medicine while also giving our student-athletes, coaches and staff adequate meeting space.”
There are 128 Division I FCS college football programs in the United States as of the upcoming 2023 season.
In addition to UTRGV, Division I FCS college football programs in Texas currently include:
• Abilene Christian University Wildcats;
• Houston Christian University Huskies;
• Lamar University Cardinals;
• Prairie View A&M University Panthers;
• Sam Houston State University Bearkats;
• Stephen F. Austin University Lumberjacks;
• Tarleton State University Texans;
• Texas Southern University Tigers; and
• University of the Incarnate Word Cardinals.
The Vaqueros Performance Center is the crown jewel of a recent wave of ongoing and planned new construction and renovations of sports facilities for the Edinburg campus.
The Vaqueros Performance Center, along with upcoming renovations to the Health and Physical Education Fieldhouse in Edinburg, is part of the Intercollegiate Athletics Expansion and Renovation project approved by the UT System Board of Regents at its Wednesday, August 23 and Thursday, August 24, 2023 regular meetings in Austin.
The Fieldhouse renovation in Edinburg also promises significant and exciting improvements, featuring:
• An addition of 9,733 gross square feet to add a new main entry lobby. This improvement will include
a ticketing window, restrooms, concessions, spirit shop, a display wall for the UT Rio Grande Valley Hall of Fame, and an equipment and uniform storage room;
• The Fieldhouse renovation is predicted to increase attendance at RGV Fieldhouse events by 500, from an average of 1,200 fans to 1,700 fans, and increase concession sales by about 35 percent;
• As well as for the sporting events, the existing Fieldhouse hosts several university and community events each year and is the largest indoor on-campus venue hosting both athletic and non-athletic events;
• The Fieldhouse lobby addition is key to creating a Division I experience for programs, university community, and supporters. The project will adequately address the needs of visitors and spectators that engage with the university through athletics; and
• Enhancements to the UTRGV Fieldhouse began in March 2023, with interior renovations, including new seating, a new video board and ribbon board, and a new court design, along with construction on the new atrium and lobby on the east side of the Fieldhouse expected to begin this fall. Additional, construction on a new practice facility was slated to begin in Summer 2023.
Total funding approved for both the construction of the Vaqueros Performance Center and the Fieldhouse expansion is $54 million.
The $54 million in debt will be repaid from student athletics fees and auxiliary fees. Annual debt service on the $54,000,000 in debt is expected to be $3 million. The annual debt service is the simply the total amount of principal and interest payments made over a 12 month period.
Images and additional information about the Vaqueros Performance Center are available online at:
Images and additional information about the Fieldhouse expansion are available online at:
University of Texas Rio Grande Valley Department of Intercollegiate Athletics releases its 2022-23 annual report
The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley (UTRGV) Department of Intercollegiate Athletics unveiled on Wednesday, August 23, 2023 its 2022-23 annual report, detailing the successes of the 2022-23 academic year in areas including academic excellence, community service, enhancing campus life, historic support, hosting conference championships, rallying the entire Valley, competition, facility enhancements, sport expansion, and licensing.
Some of the highlights include:
• Posting a department record cumulative GPA of 3.32;
• Ranking seventh in NCAA Division I in community service;
• Record ticket, corporate sponsorship, fundraising, and licensing revenue;
• About 100,000 fans in attendance across all sports, setting records for multiple teams;
• Volleyball and track and field student-athletes Marlene Gutiérrez winning WAC Championships;
• Winning the South Texas Showdown, presented by Rally Credit Union;
• Significant progress in execution of $85 million in facility enhancements;
• The birth of the Vaqueros football program; and
• The launch of UTRGV’s first co-branded product in the consumable space.
What follows is the letter from UTRGV Vice President and Director of Athletics Chasse Conque that highlights some of this past year’s accomplishments found in the annual report:
“Greetings from UTRGV Athletics! I want to thank you for your interest in and support of UTRGV Athletics. As I begin my fifth year at UTRGV, I am enthusiastic about our future and proud of the young men and women that represent you, our university, and the Rio Grande Valley through Division I competition.
“As you read this report, you will have the opportunity to learn more about how our student-athletes experienced significant success in competition, in the classroom, and in the community.
“One of the most memorable moments occurred in December (2022) when hundreds of supporters gathered to welcome our first football coach, Travis Bush, back home to the Rio Grande Valley. The Valley has stepped up in a big way to support our football program, placing more than 2,000 season ticket deposits two years before kickoff. We are very much looking forward to playing in front of sold-out crowds for every home game starting in 2025.
“The early support of our football program is inspiring, but not surprising, as our incredible fans helped our baseball and volleyball teams to shatter their single-season attendance marks. Our men’s basketball experienced their best attendance in over a decade while our women’s basketball team had its second-best attended season over the last decade. In total, we welcomed about 100,000 fans for our home events this season – a tremendous display of support from the Rio Grande Valley!
“We had several signature events during the year, as our volleyball team won the WAC Championship and hosted both the WAC Tournament and the first two rounds of the National Invitational Volleyball Championship, we co-hosted the WAC Swimming and Diving Championships with the City of Pharr, our men’s basketball team played a doubleheader involving Texas at Bert Ogden Arena which drew nearly 7,000 fans, our women’s basketball team welcomed a record crowd of elementary school students for a kids day game, and our baseball team hosted Houston for the first time since 1995, winning the series against the Cougars for the first time since 1991.
“Our student-athletes continue to excel academically, posting a cumulative departmental grade point average of 3.32 and combining for 126 Academic All-WAC honors.
“When it comes to community service, I could not be prouder of our young people. Our student-athletes combined to rank seventh in the nation in total community service, completing 3,706 hours, while five programs ranked in the top six of teams within their sports. Just as impressively, our men’s basketball team led all men’s teams of all sports in community engagement. Outside of community service, we took our commitment to the entire Rio Grande Valley community seriously, hosting youth clinics in Brownsville and Harlingen and basketball games on South Padre Island.
“As you review this report, I hope you are as impressed as I am with the success of UTRGV Athletics and the growth we have witnessed over the years, as well as the continuous growth with $85 million in facilities enhancements in progress. As we continue to grow Division I athletics in the Valley, I am confident the success we experience together will only enhance the brand and identity of our region.
“Thank you for your loyal and continued support of our student-athletes and coaches. You are critical to helping us #RallyTheValley!
Chasse S. Conque
Vice President & Director of Athletics
Jonah Goldberg contributed to this article. For more on this and other Texas legislative news stories that affect the Rio Grande Valley metropolitan region, please log on to Titans of the Texas Legislature (TitansoftheTexasLegislature.com).