McALLEN – Chancellor John Sharp told a story about meeting a female Aggie student Texas Senator Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa introduced to him.

This student was from the Rio Grande Valley, attended the flagship school in College Station and was about to graduate.

The Senator took Sharp to get acquainted with girl and her mother.

During this conversation Sharp learned that the girl told her mother for four years that she was attending Texas A&M Kingsville. To help keep up the illusion this girl even took her mother to football games in Kingsville.

It was all worth it for the girl and her mother. Once her mother stepped foot on campus and saw the enormity of her surroundings and the 10,000-person graduating class her daughter was a part of, it was all worth it.

Sharp believes the cultural ties to family in the RGV is as strong as it can be anywhere in the world. He learned at times it is difficult for students to make the 370-mile trek to College Station.

The interaction with the girl and her mother was the tipping point for Sharp to bring the flagship to the Rio Grande Valley.

“If we can't get the students to the flagship then by God we're going to bring the flagship to the Rio Grande Valley,” Sharp said.

The Texas A&M Higher Education Building – McALLEN will be 65,000 square feet once completed. It will stand three stories tall and have a 140-seat auditorium. General classrooms will be mid-size and small and there will be lab spaces for wet, dry, engineering, technology and education classes. There will also be multi-use spaces.

Beginning in January the school will begin accepting applications for enrollment. The higher education building will begin classes in the Fall of 2017.

With the completion of the building the Rio Grande Valley will join the largest research institution in the Southwest with a $900 million budget.

“This groundbreaking demonstrates the accomplishment of a community working together,” Sharp said.