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Bexar County Commissioners Fund Human Performance Campus, Debate Downtown Park

 A rendering of the Human Performance Campus.
Courtesy graphic
Bexar County Commissioners Court
A rendering of the Human Performance Campus.

Bexar County Commissioners on Tuesday contributed $15 million towards a Spurs-managed human performance campus to be constructed near I-10 and Loop 1604 in the La Cantera area.

The campus would cover 50 acres and be a half-a-billion dollar mix of office and medical space with a county park connected to existing trailways.

It could employ up to 1,700 people and partner with the local medical and military sectors on human performance issues.

Spurs General Manager R.C. Buford, the architect of the campus, told commissioners it would not only develop elite athletes, but also help other humans improve their performance in a number of areas.

"Cognitive performance, physical performance, social performance, organizational performance, creative arts performance," said Buford, referring to areas of specialty.

USAA's real estate arm donated land to the project.

The county also directed staff to return with a proposal that examines costs associated with the demolition of the county annex building on West Nueva Street by the San Pedro Creek to make room for a park.

The land the annex sits on was once part of the property owned by Jose Antonio Navarro, a Tejano rancher, merchant and statesman who signed the Texas Declaration of Independence and was a writer on the Texas Constitution.

His house known as Casa Navarro stands near the annex and is a state and national historical landmark. The annex — built in the 1950s — currently houses county internet employees and formerly housed county voting equipment.

Commissioner Rebeca Clay Flores said she was not opposed to the Friends of Casa Navarro who spoke in favor of the creation of the park, but pointed out the county is in need of office space after speaking with the members of 40 county departments. She voted against the directive to staff to return to a future meeting with a demolition proposal.

Commissioner Tommy Calvert supported the directive, but used the discussion to call for future available downtown space to be used to create affordable housing for future University of Texas at San Antonio students downtown. UTSA is constructing a cyber security building and business building downtown, expanding its presence there.

Calvert said having more young people living downtown will help businesses and improve downtown nightlife — the lack there of is a common complaint of downtown businesses.

"The reason this is an Achilles heel, that is not something immediately noticeable to most San Antonians, but in most big cities you have a centralization of young people," he said. "Our downtown has a centralization of tourists."

The proposed park space would also be the home of the O. Henry House at Laredo and Dolorosa streets. The historic rustic home of the late short story writer needs to be moved because of a high rise development planned behind the old Continental Hotel between Dolorosa and West Commerce Streets.

In other action, commissioners set Nov. 2 as the date for an election on the creation of Emergency Services District 9 to offer fire and EMS protection to the China Grove area. It is one of the last areas of the county to be protected by a volunteer fire department. The district will have taxing powers to fund emergency services.

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Brian Kirkpatrick can be reached at brian@tpr.org and on Twitter at @TPRBrian