Jaguar Den opens at Victoria Regional Airport

Community members eat lunch inside the new Jaguar Den at the Victoria Regional Airport Terminal. The seating area was renovated through a partnership between the University of Houston-Victoria, Victoria County, the City of Victoria, Victoria Airport Commission and the O’Connor-Hewitt Foundation.

Community members and visitors to Victoria now have a relaxing place at the Victoria Regional Airport where they can plug in their laptops, eat a breakfast taco or read a good book.

About 30 people attended a Victoria Chamber of Commerce ribbon-cutting ceremony on Friday in the airport terminal to celebrate the opening of the new Jaguar Den, a 550-square-foot seating area named after the University of Houston-Victoria Jaguars athletics teams.

“The Jaguar Den was a community effort,” Victoria Mayor Will Armstrong said at the event. “We support the University of Houston-Victoria wholeheartedly, and we appreciate what it does for the community.”

The Jaguar Den was renovated through a partnership between UHV, Victoria County, the City of Victoria, Victoria Airport Commission and the O’Connor-Hewitt Foundation in order to make the terminal more attractive for visitors.

“Pooling our resources through this cooperative effort lowered costs for each entity,” UHV President Tim Hudson said. “As UHV grows into a true destination university, we intend to ‘land’ a lot of visitors here. The Jaguar Den will benefit Victoria by providing a comfortable, welcoming place where people can sit down and learn more about the city and all it has to offer.”

The area, which once had some seats and a restaurant that had closed, now features a red and black color scheme with couches, overstuffed chairs and seating for the newly opened Landingstrip Café owned by Arnold and Jennifer Martinez of Victoria. The cafe is open to the public from 5:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Ashley Furniture Homestore-Victoria, CRT Flooring Concepts, Interiors by Sherry and VMC Signs also contributed to the project by providing materials and their services at cost, while UHV Facilities employees provided some construction and electrical wiring for the Jaguar Den.

Copies of magazines and editions of the American Book Review literary publication, which is housed at UHV, are available for travelers, as is an eclectic variety of books. Those who visit the Jaguar Den are welcome to borrow a book for free from the library and bring it back when they are finished, said Charles Alcorn, ABR managing editor and coordinator of the project.

“These books are duplicate copies ABR had received from small book publishers across the nation,” he said. “The lending library will be a great way to expose people to some authors who are wonderful writers but may not be widely known.”

Jaguars memorabilia will be displayed in the future, and representatives from area nonprofit organizations are encouraged to bring pamphlets to distribute, Alcorn said.

The University of Houston-Victoria, located in the heart of the Coastal Bend region since 1973 in Victoria, Texas, offers courses leading to more than 80 academic programs in the schools of Arts & Sciences; Business Administration; and Education, Health Professions & Human Development. UHV provides face-to-face classes at its Victoria campus, as well as an instructional site in Katy, Texas, and online classes that students can take from anywhere. UHV supports the American Association of State Colleges and Universities Opportunities for All initiative to increase awareness about state colleges and universities and the important role they have in providing a high-quality and accessible education to an increasingly diverse student population, as well as contributing to regional and state economic development.

Paula Cobler