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Two major construction projects transform UTSA Main Campus skyline

(May 25, 2018) – Anyone who drives on or near the UTSA Main Campus will notice cranes and crews in hard hats working on two major construction projects that will change the way UTSA students learn. Work is well underway on the Science and Engineering Building (SEB) and Large-Scale Structural Testing Facility (LSSTF).

UTSA broke ground on the SEB nearly one year ago and work continues to advance. Crews have finished pouring concrete for the foundation and first floor, and the second floor is almost complete. The final floor is expected to be poured by the end of summer. Utility infrastructure in the below-grade crawlspace is also under way, signifying the beginning of building interior work.

Underground work has started at the Paseo del Sur to coordinate future elevated walkway piers with existing campus infrastructure. The elevated walkways will connect the campus’ upper plaza, south of the Engineering Building, with the SEB and a new 122-space surface parking lot.

The SEB will provide laboratory, classroom and collaborative space for UTSA’s academic and research programs in brain health, chemical engineering, biology and chemistry. At $95 million, it’s the largest construction project in UTSA history.

The building will include a two-story distillation column that will allow chemical engineering students to study different types of mixtures, just as practicing chemical engineers do in industrial facilities. The instrument was made possible by a gift from Bill and Margie Klesse through the Klesse Foundation. The SEB is slated to open in 2020.

Another ongoing construction project is the Large-Scale Structural Testing Facility or “High Bay,” which towers over West Campus just off Loop 1604. The 15,000-square-foot, $10 million building will be a game changer, transforming engineering education and research at UTSA. The 50-foot tall facility will provide a venue where civil engineers can test structural systems, such as concrete buildings, in a large and realistic setting.

Since September 2017, Turner Construction Company has focused its manpower on erecting the steel building. Crews completed work on the building’s unique strong floor in February. Under the strong floor is a basement structure for researchers to perform their work.

Once the LSSTF is complete in spring 2019, it will feature a laboratory with two cranes that each have a 30-ton capacity for loading, unloading and transporting heavy specimens. Civil and structural engineering researchers will conduct research in the building that simulates a wide range of building- and bridge-related structural challenges, including high cycle fatigue, earthquakes and blast loads. 

The UTSA Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering is one of the university’s most innovative departments, with researchers aiding in work to prevent landslides, create drinkable water from rainfall and harvest energy from hot pavement, among many other initiatives.

“Construction of the SEB and the LSSTF is integral to UTSA’s continuing transformation into a premier academic and research institution, said Dave Riker, UTSA interim senior associate vice president for Business Affairs. “Since 2004, UTSA has invested more than $800 million in capital construction and major renovations and the institutional footprint has nearly doubled to 5.4 million square feet, greatly contributing to the expansion of the knowledge enterprise.“

Courtney Clevenger

Learn more about the UTSA Science and Engineering Building.

Learn more about the Large-Scale Structural Testing Facility.

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The University of Texas at San Antonio is dedicated to the advancement of knowledge through research and discovery, teaching and learning, community engagement and public service. As an institution of access and excellence, UTSA embraces multicultural traditions and serves as a center for intellectual and creative resources as well as a catalyst for socioeconomic development and the commercialization of intellectual property - for Texas, the nation and the world.

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