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Below is some general information about West University Place:
West University Place, often called West University or West U for short, is a city located in the U.S. state of Texas within the Houston-The Woodlands-Sugar Land metropolitan area and southwestern Harris County. As of the 2010 U.S. Census, the population of the city was 14,787. It is nicknamed “The Neighborhood City” and is mainly a bedroom community for upper-class families. West University Place is surrounded by the cities of Bellaire, Houston, and Southside Place. The United States Postal Service uses “Houston” as the city designation for all West University Place addresses, although the actual name of “West University Place” is also acceptable. As of 2011, West University Place is the fifth highest fraction of households with incomes $150,000 or greater. Almost all street names in West University Place are allusions to universities, colleges, and poets throughout the United States and the world.
The city was developed in 1917 by Ben Hooper, a former Tennessee governor. The name “West University Place” originated from its proximity to Rice Institute, now known as Rice University. The first lots in the community were sold in 1917. Portions of West University were previously within the Harris County Poor farm, which extended from an area between Bellaire Boulevard and Bissonnet Street, eastward to an area near the poor farm ditch. The city incorporated in 1924 because Houston was reluctant to extend power lines that far from the city center. West University Place, unlike Houston Heights, did not consolidate into the City of Houston. Because of the 1923 incorporation, Houston did not incorporate West University Place’s territory into its city limits, while Houston annexed surrounding areas that were unincorporated. In 1939, the municipality refused to consolidate, later adopting a formal city charter the following year. The city had around 15,000 residents in the 1960s and the 1970s. The city had 12,714 people in 1990.
The city of West University Place operates under the Council-Manager form of government. The council contains the mayor and four city council members. The city council, elected on a non-partisan basis, is elected during the first Saturday in the May of every odd-numbered year. Each member serves a term of two years. Members may serve for not more than two successive terms in each office. The council enacts legislation, adopts budgets, establishes policies and appoints the city manager, city secretary, city municipal court judges, prosecutors, and clerks. The City Council appoints the city manager to carry out the operations of the city. The city secretary maintains ordinances, resolutions, meeting minutes, and legally required publications. The city attorney gives the city council general counsel, litigation, contract review, and ordinance review. West University Place’s sewage treatment plant and animal pound are located on a lot in Houston.
From 1988 to 2003 the Friends of West University Place Parks Fund Inc., a volunteer board, and several West University-area businesses and residents raised $1.5 million to improve West University parks. The funds were collected to acquire additional green spaces and redevelop existing parks. The first West University Place Recreation Center, formerly the Southwest YMCA, included a gymnasium, a swimming pool, and lighted sports fields. The City of West University had purchased the Southwest YMCA property around 2003. In 2008 residents approved a bond to build a new $8.8 million recreation center at a plot of land bounded by Bellaire Boulevard, Community, and Westpoint. The new recreation center does not have basketball courts. Russ Schulze, the chairperson of the Parks and Recreation department of West University Place, said that the city wants to construct a recreation center “for our residents, not something that will compete with nearby fitness centers or the Weekley YMCA, or to merely attract what residents outside West University want.”
The city is within the Houston Independent School District. Pupils who live in West University Place are zoned to West University Elementary School in West University Place, Pershing Middle School in the Braeswood Place neighborhood of Houston, and Lamar High School, in the Upper Kirby district of Houston. All pupils zoned to Pershing may attend Pin Oak Middle School (in the city of Bellaire) instead. Pin Oak was named a National Blue Ribbon School in 2008. West University Place is in close proximity to The Rice School, a kindergarten through 8th grade magnet school in Houston. The Rice School opened in August 1994 to relieve West University Elementary School and several nearby campuses. Gabriela Mistral Early Childhood Center is the closest public early childhood center to the city of West University Place. Students who are eligible for HISD’s preschools may attend any Early Childhood Center in Houston ISD. Beehive, a preschool located on the grounds of West University Elementary, serves many pupils from West University Place, Southside Place, and other communities.