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College of Engineering at The University of Texas at San Antonio Online Magazine

Building Greatness
Design plans are underway for a new state-of-the-art building on UTSA Main Campus. The Science and Engineering Building will be constructed in a grassy area off Bauerle Road and Key Circle and will house classrooms, study spaces, teaching laboratories and research facilities for Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.

Building Greatness

New Science and Engineering Building will provide more visibility to different disciplines

Design plans are underway for a new state-of-the-art building on UTSA Main Campus. The Science and Engineering Building will be built in a grassy area off Bauerle Road and Key Circle and will house classrooms, study spaces, teaching laboratories and research facilities for science, technology, engineering and mathematics. This will be the first new building at UTSA since the North Paseo Building opened in 2014.

The building also will be the largest construction project in UTSA history at $95 million. The majority of funds will come from tuition revenue bonds, which the Texas legislature approved during the 2015 session.

Paul Goodman, UTSA assistant vice president for facilities, said the idea for it goes back about 10 years.

“We knew our teaching labs on campus were getting older and the university needed to start looking at ways to replace them,” Goodman said.

Currently, a number of UTSA’s STEM-related classrooms and teaching laboratories are spread out in buildings across campus. The new building will bring many of them together under one roof, engaging thousands of students from various disciplines in different areas of study.

Goodman says that one of the unique features of the building is the magnitude of exterior and interior glass. Many of the laboratories will be surrounded in glass so students and visitors walking by can see what’s going on, a concept referred to as science on display.

“The biology, chemistry, and engineering labs are going to be very visible,” Goodman said. “Students with different majors will interact, so there’s a higher potential for students to connect with other people who have different interests. They may even discover a new passion and switch their major. Studies show universities are more likely to retain students that way. This design also increases the likelihood that students will attend graduate school and become interested in research instead of going into the workforce.”

Students and faculty will conduct top-tier research inside the Science and Engineering Building. The 4th floor will be dedicated to brain health research and chemical engineering. Leading the brain health revolution is one of UT System Chancellor William McRaven‘s “Quantum Leap” initiatives to provide Texans with the very best in higher education, research, and health care. UTSA plays an important role in this initiative.

“UTSA researchers are tirelessly working on cures for brain diseases,” said George Perry, dean of the UTSA College of Sciences. “These new state of the art facilities will provide our professors and students with the best environment, laboratories, and equipment to further their research.”

Another innovative aspect in the building will be the Engineering Maker Space, a 17,000-square-foot area where engineering students can design, test, and fabricate their capstone senior design projects. They will have access to various tools, materials, and storage space for their projects. The space was the idea of UTSA College of Engineering Dean JoAnn Browning.

“The maker space represents the culmination of an engineer’s college training, where the concepts and learning objectives from the prior three years are put into practice during senior design,” said Browning. “Our students will utilize the maker space’s features including a full machine shop, 3D prototyping facility, metrology lab, and assembly space. The maker space also has dedicated collaborative rooms for business students and sponsors to interact with the engineers and help guide a design from prototype to commercial success.”

Additionally, the new building will feature laboratories and classrooms dedicated to UTSA’s new chemical engineering degree program. Among the most anticipated features is a two-story space that will house distillation columns. In this space, students will be able to collect data and analyze the results in real-time, which reflects the type of hands-on requirements of a practicing chemical engineer at an industrial facility. To help support this program, Bill and Margie Klesse have committed a $1 million gift from The Klesse Foundation in support of scholarships and equipment for chemical engineering, including a distillation column.

This will also be the first UTSA building using a stone and brick blend. UTSA architect and project manager Robert Espinoza worked with the campus community to choose a brick that will become the standard for future university buildings. The stone will also complement UTSA’s other science and engineering facilities: the Biotechnology, Science and Engineering (BSE) and Applied Engineering and Technology (AET).

Goodman said utility work will begin this summer and the building should be complete in the summer of 2020, just in time for students to return for the fall 2020 semester.

By Courtney Clevenger/University Communications and Marketing

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