Meet New WITS Writer Pamela Bond

By Pamela Bond

The WITS Blog

Dec. 20, 2012

By B. Wise Photography

Pamela’s thoughts on writing and working for Writers in the Schools:

I started writing when I was 14 and never stopped – I wrote for my high school and college newspapers, wrote in my internships, wrote in my undergraduate and graduate classes, and wrote for newspapers and magazines. What’s amazing about writing is there’s no limit to what you can write about. As soon as the ink dries on one story, I’ve awakened to another fascinating idea that I can’t stop thinking about and crafting a well-written story seems the only way to do it justice.

I hope the students I meet through WITS will come to share my passion for writing as a form of expressing themselves and a way to question themselves and the world around them. I want them to know that there is an incredible freedom in creative writing, without having to formulate one right answer or follow a set pattern, and that ability to think innovatively will help them reach their goals, whatever those may be.

A work that influenced Pamela from an early age: 

“At the end of class, Mr. Bonner gave us our homework: to write about what our own struggles were.

So that night I spent three hours writing about my struggles. When I started, I couldn’t think of any struggles. No struggles! So that was why I wasn’t interesting.

And then I started to think of struggling with moving and figuring out where I was and why my family had sent me away. I wrote about struggling with homesickness and with figuring out who I was. On and on I went. I was full of struggles! And that made me so happy: If I was full of struggles, maybe I was interesting!”

(from Bloomability by Sharon Creech)

For a link to this post, click here.

A Party To Avoid

By Medical Discovery News

April 28, 2012

A Party to Avoid

While many parents are taking their children to birthday parties on the weekends, some will be hauling their children to “pox parties.” Believe it or not, that’s short for chicken pox. Anyone can find these parties on Facebook, sponsored by groups like “Chicken pox party line” or “Find a pox party.” Their goal is to bring together parents interested in exposing their children to the wild virus, Varicella zoster, rather than inoculate them with the chicken pox vaccine.

While the vast majority of parents may find this outrageous, a subset of parents believe natural infection with the virus leads to more vigorous immunity than the protection their children would get from the vaccine. But underlying this is a continued distrust of vaccines among some parents in America.

Public health experts say these parents are not only misguided, they’re downplaying serious risks that come with a full-blown infection. Chicken pox causes hundreds of blisters that, when scratched, can lead to life-threatening bacterial infections. Additionally, the virus can cause encephalitis, an infection of the lining of the brain. Children who get chicken pox also face the risk of developing shingles as adults, when the dormant virus comes back as a highly painful nerve disorder.

Incredibly, the interest for natural infection has spurred postings on Facebook from people selling $50 lollipops that have been licked by children with chicken pox. Some offer infected clothing or towels by overnight delivery, with no shortage of interest from responding parents.

Law enforcement has cracked down on the offers, since shipment of infectious substances across state lines is a federal offense. Public health experts question whether the chicken pox virus can survive shipment, but warn that other serious bacterial diseases might prevail, such as staph or strep throat.

Parents skeptical of vaccines need to weigh the risks of infection, which are far more serious against the few, mild side effects of a vaccine. The chicken pox vaccine, introduced in 1995, significantly lowers the risk of infection. Those who are vaccinated and do become infected have a much milder form of the illness and are less contagious. These children also face a lower risk of developing shingles later in life.

The Centers for Disease Control indicates severe reactions to the vaccine are extremely rare and only those with certain health risks are advised not to get the vaccine. It’s still always a good idea to consult a pediatrician first.

Before the chicken pox vaccine was introduced, four million people were infected every year, including over 10,000 who were hospitalized. Of those, 150 died. However, the vaccine has cut the chicken pox death rate by 97 percent.

Scientists are monitoring whether wiping out chicken pox will increase the risk of shingles in adults who had the virus when they were younger. Evidence suggests periodic exposure to the virus from sick children acts as a natural immunity booster for adults who had the illness. But health experts point out that a shingles vaccine can head off that risk.

For a link to this story, click here.

I Believe in Writing

By Pamela Bond

This I Believe, National Public Radio

March 11, 2010

I believe in the power of the written word. I believe that it can take you places and tell you things that you could never know without it. I believe it has the power to influence, to entertain and to teach.

Some believe this power is slipping away. With T.V. and podcasts becoming more popular than newspapers and magazines, music and movies more popular than books, it’s hard to say what the future will hold for print media. People used to crave this medium, eagerly awaiting a next printing or edition. But I believe it will hardly lose its place in our society, and in our hearts.

I was the type of child who couldn’t get enough of books and news. I would read under the covers with a flashlight after I was supposed to be asleep. I craved news as I grew older. I was one of the few in my high school who knew as much about Matchbox Twenty as African politics. That’s why I decided to become a journalist. My first job working for a medium-sized town newspaper certainly did not have the same impact on international politics as working as a foreign correspondent for the Associated Press (my dream job at the time), but it still taught me about the power of words.

Every so often, we catch a glimpse of what might be the future of writing. I admit, I have a Barnes and Noble Nook and I love it. Shortly after I got my Nook as a Christmas present, I read an article about how digital eReaders would become obsolete within the year. So what’s next? I don’t know, but I don’t believe it will be the end.

I love to see young people reading. They emergence of Twilight as the next teen trend had me so excited. I believe that reading is one of the best habits we can teach the next generation. And yes, I read all the Twilights and was happy to read that they passed literary muster.

So what’s the future of print media? I don’t know for sure, but the important thing is I believe it has a future.

CLICK HERE for a link to this story

Observation 101

Students learn by watching practices of local hospital

By Pamela Bond

Victoria Advocate

June 9, 2008

For some students at Memorial High School, an average school day involves observing heart surgery or examining X-rays for osteoporosis.

Students in the health science technology II class spend their time not just reading textbooks and taking tests, but also participating in clinical rotations at local hospitals and other medical offices.

During the school year, the students will spend 24 days at Citizens Medical Center, 12 at DeTar Hospital Navarro, 10 at DeTar’s north campus and six specialty rotations at a place of the student’s choice, such as a dentist, optometrist or physical therapist’s office. Book work and classroom instruction prepares the students for what they learn in the field.

At the hospitals, the students observe doctors, nurses and technicians in different areas such as surgery, radiology and the emergency room.

The purpose of the course is to give students interested in the medical field a chance to observe medical practices in real life so they might have a better idea of what they would like to do, said Melanie Allen, a health science technology teacher.

“They see a lot,” Allen said. “Some of them have seen death. I tell them to use their best judgment. If you can handle it, if you’re comfortable, it’s fine.”

Allen, who is also a psychiatric nurse at Citizens Medical Center, found her interest in the field while taking the same class in high school. She said she tries to get the students to think of small class as a family so no one is left out.

“I was interested in biology and the medical field, but I didn’t know what I wanted to do,” said junior Sarah Parkinson. “I liked watching endoscopy and surgery, that was fun. We get to see the good and the bad.”

Senior Stephen Bess, who wants to become an obstetrician, said he signed up for the class as soon as possible once he found out that he would get to observe in the hospitals.

“The best thing was I wanted to see a birth, and we did that on my third rotation,” Bess said. “I really enjoyed that. I said it felt like home. I just walked in and felt like I had seen it before. I liked the environment, and I love kids.”

School Nurses Play Many Different Roles

By Pamela Bond

Victoria Advocate

May 7, 2008

Terri Spratlin and Murray McDonald said they didn’t plan on becoming a school nurse, but both knew exactly why they kept coming back each day.

“Sometimes it’s just the kids giving us a hug, or saying ‘you’re cool,’” Spratlin said. “We’re really trying to help the kids. We want them to be as academically successful as possible.”

Today is National School Nurses Day. Spratlin, who has been a school nurse for Victoria school district since 1990, and McDonald, the district’s only male nurse, who is in his eighth year of school nursing, care for more than 11,000 students, plus faculty and staff, at Howell Middle School.

“A lot of people don’t know what school nursing is all about,” Spratlin said. “My husband thought I’d just see some kids and slap on on a Band-Aid. When student nurses come through, they never in their wildest dreams thought we would be doing all this. We play many roles – nurse, counselor, educator, friend, confidante.”

On Monday, Spratlin and McDonald saw 104 students, which McDonald said is about average. Of those, 23 students come in for daily medicines, such as those with Type I diabetes. Another 10 to 15 come in regularly for headache or stomach medicine, and two students require daily procedures.

Besides the regulars, Spratlin said every day is different. In the current school year they have seen students with a broken nose, broken ankles, respiratory distress and heart problems.

Spratlin and McDonald are also responsible for state-mandated testing of hearing, vision, scoliosis and Type II diabetes at the school. They make sure immunizations are up to date and speak to classes about health issues.

Like most nurses in the district, Spratlin and McDonald are certified to teach CPR, first aid and safety training. They also received the same training as Department of Public Safety Officers to screen for alcohol use.

“Believe it or not, we have done a couple this year,” McDonald said. “You wouldn’t think that would be part of the job.”

McDonald said that he usually works about nine hours a day, but Spratlin usually works 10 hours, as she is still there when he leaves, and then takes home paperwork. Spratlin said that she feels blessed to have her partner.

“He’s a good role model, especially for the guys,” Spratlin said. “Some of the guys are even thinking of going into medicine.”

Spratlin said that she sees the students in a different light than the teachers and they treat her with respect.

“Our roles are expanding as kids come to school with more health needs,” Spratlin said. “Some will come talk to us about personal issues, and we encourage them to talk to their parents. Each age group is unique and it’s very fun to see our little sixth graders, still kind of scared at the beginning of the year, as they grow. We’re lucky to have them for three years.”

Giving Disabled Kids Hope

PPCD prepares preschoolers for kindergarten

By Pamela Bond

Victoria Advocate

Nov. 11, 2007

Five-year-old Caleb could barely lift a spoon to eat, and hardly ever spoke, when he moved to Victoria three years ago. Now, he’s getting ready for kindergarten, a change his mother, Wendy Hughes, attributes to the Preschool Program for Children with Disabilities.

“There’s just amazing things happening in PPCD and I just can’t believe that when I tell people my son’s in PPCD, they have no idea what it is,” said Hughes, a registered respiratory therapist at Warm Springs.

The Victoria school district program serves 96 children ages 3 to 5 in 10 classes. The children have differing disabilities, from occupational to speech to motor impediments. Caleb, for example, has Asperger’s syndrome, a higher functioning form of autism.

The main goal is to get them ready for the next step, which is either kindergarten or a life skills class,” said Lori Dearman, Chandler School’s PPCD teacher. “We are catching them up in all the areas, not just academics but social skills and self-care. We want them to be successful and eventually independent as adults so we give them a foundation to build upon.”

Rhonda Brzozowske has a story similar to Caleb’s with her 6-year-old daughter Abby, who has verbal apraxia and has been in the program for three years. When she started, Abby knew five different single-syllable sounds.

“Just now we are working on two- to three-word sentences,” Brzozowske said. “Language is a huge part of PPCD. She also couldn’t hold a crayon because she didn’t have those fine motor skills. Now she is drawing and cutting.”

Children must qualify for the program through a test conducted by the district’s Child Find Assessment Office, said special education coordinator Cheryl Roitsch. Tests are available throughout the school year and those who qualify can enroll their children for a full or half
day at the closest campus.

The program works with children in different areas, such as speech or physical therapy, depending on individual needs. Many campuses also include the program’s children in activities with “regular” day care or kindergarten classes.

“The teachers treat them like they’re normal kids; they don’t look at their weaknesses, their disabilities,” Hughes said. “They look at their abilities, what they can do. And they try to take those things and adapt them, and modify them, to teach these kids how to function and how to live in what the rest of us call normal society.”

Roitsch said that early detection and enrollment in the program makes a difference in a child’s school career.

“What we’ve seen is the transition is a lot easier for them, and teachers have said that the children that have been in the PPCD separate easier from their parents,” Roitsch said. “They don’t cry as much, they’re easier to get acclimated. What we’ve seen the most in is a growth in social skills and language.”

Once a child grows out of the program, usually at age 6, they may go on to a general kindergarten class or self-contained life skills class, depending on each child’s needs.

“Anybody that says they’re just finger painting and drawing and babysitting these special needs kids, I would challenge them to go and sit in that classroom and then come and tell me that they’re not learning anything,” Hughes said. “Because it’s not true. They are learning just as much as any other child in VISD is. And probably even more so because they have greater challenges to overcome.”

The 10,000 LB. Challenge

By Pamela Bond

Victoria Advocate

Oct. 29, 2007

Asking elementary and junior high students to walk 100 miles and lift 10,000 pounds each in one school year may seem like a challenge, but that’s the goal adapted P.E. teacher Susan Sherman has set for special education classes in Victoria school district.

“My son really enjoys it,” said Wendy Hughes of Victoria, whose son Caleb attends Chandler Elementary School. “They make it fun. I think it’s really helped with his gross motor skills.”

The “Courageous Pacers Program,” written by Corpus Christi physical therapist Tim Erson, includes students with severe disabilities to those who needed minimal assistance.

In Victoria, about 160 students at 12 schools participate in the program, which began this year and has already had great results, special education coordinator Cheryl Roitsch said.

“I’d say the special kids are more likely to be at risk for child obesity because they’re not going to go home and ride their bikes or play outside by themselves,” Sherman said.

“Like kids who are autistic, they are more likely to sit around and watch TV. By elementary, or in junior high, they tend to get heavier.”

Besides promoting fitness, the program can benefit academic skills by improving language and concentration, Sherman said.

“Our physical therapist wanted me to try it, and my supervisor, Cheryl (Roitsch), was really gung-ho about it,” Sherman said. “So I decided to do it for a month and either it works or it doesn’t, but either way I tried. Now when I go to the schools and I want to try other games, the kids ask to do the pacers. It just went so well that we kept doing it.”

To lift 10,000 pounds, each child holds a water-filled bottle that weighs one pound in each hand. (Smaller children have two half-pound bottles). Each repetition of lifting the bottles is equal to two pounds. The student completes 10 repetitions in five different exercises, which equals 100 pounds, and participates in that routine three times a week (300 pounds). Eventually, as the students build strength, the bottles will be filled with sand, making them weigh two pounds each.

The 100 miles are calculated in aerobic miles, meaning that 20 minutes of walking equals one mile. During the program, which classes use daily, students aim to walk three aerobic miles, or 60 minutes, each week. Student unable to walk complete a different aerobic activity for the time period, such as shooting basketballs.

“At the beginning, there was an autistic girl who didn’t even notice I was in the room,” Sherman said. “She was twirling around in her own little world. Now as soon as I come to class, she gets her water bottles and is ready to go.”

Fort Worth Health Science Expands Campus, Resources

By Pamela Bond

North Texas Daily

April 6, 2006

CLICK HERE to see a PDF of the newspaper page this story was printed on

CLICK HERE to see a PDF of the newspaper page this story was printed on

The first students who came to what is now NT’s Health Science Center (HSC) in Fort Worth graduated from the Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine (TCOM) in 1974. Over 30 years later, U.S. News and World Report ranked the college 28th out of the nation’s primary medical care schools.

In addition, the HSC now awards degrees in four different colleges and is emerging as a nationally competitive public health institution, one of nine in Texas.

“The ranking for TCOM, especially since it the 5th year in a row we have been in the top 50, reinforces the recognition of the excellence of our program,” Ronald Blanck, president of the HSC, said. “This is a great honor.”

The HSC awarded its first Bachelor’s degrees in physician’s assistant studies in 1999. Now the HSC offers Master’s degrees in physician’s assistant studies, a field which accounts for 8 percent of the center’s 1012 total students, according to the HSC’s 2004 Fact Book.

The School of Public Health, which offers Doctorate and Master’s degrees in Public Health first graduated students in 1995 and now has 23% of HSC’s enrollment.

The NT system bought TCOM in Spring 2005, which doubled the size of the HSC. The college offers Doctorate and Master’s degrees and post-graduate training to 49 percent of the HSC.

The Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences’ first graduates walk the stage in 1994, and now 20 percent of the HSC earn their Post-Baccalaureate Premedical Certificate, Master’s degree or Doctorate in this school.

The growing enrollments – which have more than doubled since 1992 – mean that the HSC has had to expand structurally. The Center for Biohealth opened its doors to students in 2004, and the Master Plan calls for three more buildings.

The Master Plan’s advisory committee is interviewing prospective planners to design and construct the School of Public Health Education Building, the Research Building and the Alzheimer’s Research Building.

 “We’ve seen the campus grow with new buildings and new technology,” Douglas Mains, assistant professor of health management and policy, said. “I think the changes have all certainly been improvements.”

New buildings aren’t the only recent changes within the HSC. The center has added more classes and “changed their philosophy of education to accommodate student growth,” said Mains, including a Library Task Force that makes the library more accessible on and off campus.

“[These changes] provide more modern facilities, more modern technology,
updated classrooms with the latest technology,” Mains said. “We have Wi-Fi access throughout the Health Science Center.”

The new technology has aided professors in teaching classes and researchers in their studies. Students have also benefited from the changes at the HSC.

“It’s a great medical school where I will receive fantastic training,” Michelle Jones, third year TCOM medical student from The Colony, said.

The center has made recent improvements to the patient simulation lab, where students can practice on mannequins which simulate medical scenarios in real time.

“It’s just a great training tool for students to understand how the drugs that they’re learning work on the systems,” Jones said.

In addition, the center added patient care rooms, which come equipped with examining tables, flat-screen T.V.s and X-ray boxes.

“We use them for training in the clinical education classes, which is the class that teaches us how to be doctors,” Jones said. “They’ve improved those classes, they’ve improved the simulation lab, and they continually make improvements and updates to the growth anatomy lab, where the do the cadaver dissections.”

Research at the HSC has also gone through many changes recently. In the past six years, funding for research at the center has more than doubled, according to Thomas Yorio, vice president for research and dean of the Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences.

“In terms of investment, when you hire new faculty you give them money to start their research, buy equipment, and that sort of thing,” Yorio said. “So every dollar we invested in that, into faculty, we’ve got back, in terms of research dollars, about $4.61. In other words, it’s a good investment – for every dollar we put into our faculty, we’re getting increased research back. That’s true also for seed funding, small grants and pilot projects. These seed funds also returned about five dollars.”

The National Institute for Health recently awarded the HSC about $50 million in grants to fund research in aging and Alzheimer’s disease. As the population ages, this research may become more of trend in the future years, Yorio said.

“One of the other areas that we’re working on is regenerative medicine, in terms of rejuvenating parts that aren’t working functionally,” Yorio said. “And I think that’s a growing field, and one that we’re looking at.”

The HSC’s also studies key areas such as diabetes and its prevalence in the Hispanic population, the mechanisms and causes of Glaucoma and a joint cancer research group with UT Arlington.

“Many projects are interdisciplinary based, they cross-over,” Yorio said. “Typically, that’s what we’re trying to build is interdisciplinary research.”

To continue growing in these areas of research, HSC plans on bringing new, state-of-the-art technology that will enable the center to “be on the leading edge of research,” Yorio said.

The changes at the HSC – breaking technologies, more students and faculty, added classes and new buildings – have helped establish the HSC as a competitive school within Texas and the nation.

“I think we’re very competitive,” Yorio said. “Eighty-six percent of our funding comes from the federal government, which is a competitive process. Recently, we’ve received a $7.2 million health asperities grant. There were about 200 applications and only six were funded. I think we compete very well, nationally. We have excellent, world-renowned faculty, so I think we stack up pretty well.”

SAT for College Students?

By Pamela Bond

North Texas Daily

Feb. 22, 2006

College students might have to take standardized tests before graduating. The Commission on the Future of Higher Education is investigating the use of standardized tests to compare schools and demonstrate what students have learned.

Charles Miller, a businessman from Houston who was appointed as the commission’s chairman, sent a memo out earlier this month urging members to consider this issue.

“What is clearly lacking is a nationwide system for comparative performance purposes, using standard formats,” Miller wrote (courtesy of the New York Times news service). “There is gathering momentum for measuring through testing what students learn.”

Miller served as a Regent in the UT system from February 1999-2005. During that time, he proposed an “accountability plan” which was implemented to gauge the quality of departments. The plan did not include standardized tests.

However, it did include assessments in writing, math and critical thinking. UT would assess these areas in that order, according to John R. Durbin, secretary of the general faculty at that time.

But instead of giving everyone the same tests, the Regents decided in fall of 2001 to use assignments from certain core classes; that way, individual faculty members would deliver the assessment instead of a university-wide mandate. For example, for the first phase of writing, the final paper in the Rhetoric and Composition class would be doubled as a writing assessment, according to Durbin.

The program is now in its third year and on February 8, the Office of Institutional Planning and Accountability released its “Performance and Accountability Report.” Along with the statistics of Miller’s accountability plan, it gave results to an experimental Collegiate Learning Assessment (CLA) test, which students voluntarily took to test their performance and analytical writing skills. The scores of these were compared to the scores of their admissions tests, according to UT’s Vice Chancellor Pedro Reyes.

UT freshmen scored almost the same as the national average and the seniors scored above the national average.

“The starting point for this assessment is that conceptions of university quality should be influenced by improvements in student learning,” Pedro wrote in his summary of the CLA. “Although educational quality is often based upon such indirect measures as the test scores of entering students, opinion polls of experts, or available financial resources, the Collegiate Learning Assessment (CLA) bases its assessment on students’ demonstrated abilities.”

The CLA is a standardized test like one the commission might implement.

The 19-member commission for higher education, appointed by Secretary of Education Margaret Spellings, will report in August on the accountability, cost and quality of implementing a standardized testing program in colleges.

According to the New York Times news service, Miller also wrote that the tests should focus on skills such as writing, critical thinking and problem solving, unlike those required in public schools under the No Child Left Behind Act, which test knowledge in the main areas of science, social studies, math, reading comprehension and writing and punish schools with low average scores.

The purpose of these tests would be to establish what college students are, or are not, learning and scores would serve as a mark of comparison between colleges, wrote Miller.

Critics of the plan, such as David L. Warren, president of the National Association of Independent Colleges, disagree with the idea of subjecting all colleges – small, medium and large, public, private and religious, liberal arts, math and science – to the same tests.

NT-Dallas Breaks New Ground

By Pamela Bond

North Texas Daily

Oct. 14, 2005

CLICK HERE to see a PDF of the newspaper page this story was printed on

State and North Texas dignitaries gathered yesterday for the ceremonial groundbreaking of the first building of the NT-Dallas campus. However, what was supposed to be just ceremonial soon became literal, when politicians and NT officials actually had to shovel the dirt on the land site themselves.

A pile of dirt and sand was supposed to be collapsed with a detonator to reveal a sign proclaiming “UNT Dallas.” However, when technical difficulties prevented this, dignitaries immediately accepted brand-new, gleaming shovels and started doing the dirty work themselves.

“Well, I said it’d be different,” Chancellor Lee Jackson said, in response to the technical blunder. “Normally the groundbreaking is just for ceremony.”

Except for the absence of Gov. Rick Perry, who was in Kingsville at a friend’s funeral, the celebration went smoothly. It was held on the land site in a tent with blue and yellow decorations, which represented NT–Dallas’ school colors for the time being; combined, they form green.

Jackson opened the ceremony with a welcome and introduction.

“Today we will mark the success of this project, and plant the seed of the first permanent building of what will someday be a major campus, transforming lives, providing employment, and with all intent of supporting the communities around us in their own goals and improving their growth,” Jackson said.

After an invocation from Ramon Alvarez, reverend of Cathedral Santuario de Guadalupe, Regent Gayle Strange spoke.

“UNT promises to build a full, comprehensive university, the first in the city of Dallas, just as soon as possible,” Strange said. “Today we are taking a giant step to making that vision a reality.”

The new campus will be a branch of NT, named NT at Dallas, such as UT at Arlington. It will be completely independent and separate from the current system center at Dallas.

“We want this location, this area, to be really a signature piece to the entire country, about how states and cities and communities surrounding it can work together to create something that is truly unique in an urban educational setting,” said Dallas Mayor Pro Tem Don Hill.

The new center is located off of a growing area of Loop-12, at the intersection of Camp Wisdom Road and Houston School Road, and is surrounded by the suburbs of southern Dallas.

“When I first investigated returning to school, I had to decide where I was going to attend,” Patricia De La Rosa, Cedar Hills graduate student, said. “My choices seemed few: I could either spend a great deal of money enrolling in one of the private schools around, or I could spend a great deal of time and gas on the road traveling back and forth between my home and school. With the opening of UNT Dallas, local residents are able to invest in their education without leaving their neighborhoods.”

Due to the Dallas campus’s location, many of the legislators hope the public university will provide new opportunities for the Dallas area.

“We want the students who come here not only to be successful in their careers, but to give back to the state and community,” Dr. Raymund A. Paredes, commissioner of higher education of Texas, said.

NT officials expressed similar hopes.

“We are more convinced than ever that with our plans to add more faculty positions, beginning in fall of 2006, and to continue to offer attractive programs that students can complete in a timely manner, our enrollment will surely grow,” Dr. John Price, vice provost for the NT-Dallas campus, said. “We look forward to moving to this location, a permanent land site, for the future UNT at Dallas and the soon-to-be constructed,  state-of –the-art facility, which has already won an award for excellence in architecture.”

The first building, designed by Sasaki Associates and the Aguirre Corporation, was unveiled at the end of the program. The building’s construction, managed by Hunt, began June 2005. Wednesday’s groundbreaking was only for ceremonial purposes. So far, a concrete base has been laid on the 264-acre lot.

“We are not building this building for economic development,” said state Rep. Jesse Jones (D), of the 110th District. “We are building this building so that education might take place and our future might be preserved.”

Presently, the system center at Dallas offers 16 undergraduate, eight graduate, one doctoral and eight certificate programs, mainly through night and weekend classes. The future NT-Dallas will offer degrees in departments such as liberal arts; science, technology and information management; business administration; education; health and human services; pharmacy and law.

The current NT-Dallas campus has 1,450 students (a 21% increase from last year) and 564 full-time students (a 33% increase since last year) – more than half of the phase one goal of 1,000 full-time students.

When enrollment equals 1,000 full-time students (projected for 2007), the NT system is authorized to open the NT at Dallas campus, which will be the first public university in the Dallas city limits. At that time, the campus will begin to grant degrees and gain accreditation.

“Once we get those enrollment numbers in fall 2007, we must have stability in order to have credibility as an academic institution,” said state Sen. Royce West (D) of District 23. “We’re sitting on about 260 acres of land, and can you imagine what is going to happen on this site?”

The second phase of the master plan, once the campus has enough enrollment to be recognized, anticipates 4,000 students by 2009. The third phase anticipates 16,000 students by 2030, and the final phase of the master plan will accommodate 25,000 students on 2,250,000 square feet.

“It’s for the future of the children,” Jones said. “The future of this university is in their heads, in their hearts and in their hands. It’s not built for us – it’s built for them and those of their generation.”

The UNT system and SBC hosted the event.

“I’m proud to be from Dallas, and I’m proud to have gone to UNT, but I really would have liked to have this campus here when I was in school,” said Paul Cardarella, NT alumnus and vice president for external affairs for SBC.