Texas A&M has selected key partners to advance toward a summer groundbreaking for the Aplin Center. Supported by a $50 million gift from former student Arch “Beaver” Aplin III, owner of Buc-ee’s, the academic center will serve as an immersive learning laboratory for students.
Houston-based Hines has been selected as the development manager to facilitate the T3 project. T3 is Hines’ new generation of heavy timber buildings are focused on innovation, wellness and sustainability. Pickard Chilton and DLR Group, two premier architectural design firms known for their innovative ideas, will lead the design of the state-of-the-art facility. Landscape architect Design Workshop will transform the surrounding eight acres at the corner of Wellborn Road and John Kimbrough Boulevard into an inviting green space. The university will break ground in the fall.
The Aplin Center will offer a transformational student experience through new university programs in hospitality, retail studies and food product development involving innovative degree programs including viticulture, fermentation processes, coffee and food science. Product development laboratories and food tasting areas will offer collaboration with industry and experiential learning opportunities for students.
The Aplin Center will include outdoor and indoor student recreational space, as well as retail and food service areas managed by students and faculty through the educational programs.
The project will host corporate training and recruiting programs, along with professional development opportunities. Workforce training based on industry needs will be a key component of the center. Texas A&M is already exploring potential collaboration with industry for internship opportunities as students advance through the programs offered at the Aplin Center.
Primary academic partners will be the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences and the Mays Business School, although other academic units will be involved in specialty projects.
Aplin graduated from Texas A&M in 1980 with a construction science degree and opened his first Buc-ee’s in Lake Jackson, Texas, in 1982.