JANUARY 12, 2021 – A new outdoor classroom at UTSA will provide science students and the San Antonio community with opportunities to get their hands wet via water education. The Cypress Living Laboratory is designed to promote habitat and environmental education opportunities associated with the Edwards Aquifer watershed, including the laboratory’s adjacent creek ecosystem.
Designed by Ford, Powell & Carson, the state-of-the-art facility is part of a $2.6 million project funded by the City of San Antonio’s Proposition 1 Edwards Aquifer Protection Venue Project.
The innovative project supports UTSA’s Classroom to Career initiative, which creates experiential learning environments for students. In addition to an open concept classroom, the approximately 2,000-square-foot building will include multiple low-impact development features to manage storm runoff and will showcase best management practices for improving water quality and quantity. The San Antonio River Authority, which is contracted by the city to administer the program that funds this project, is providing guidance to UTSA and its design team on the living laboratory’s low-impact development components.
An eco-friendly green roof, bioswale and bio retention areas will be functional examples and educational areas for students and the community to learn about water issues, such as the impact of urbanization on water quality over the Edwards Aquifer recharge zone. UTSA also plans to use the space for outreach activities and summer camps open to the community.
“We are so excited to add this facility to our outreach initiatives,” said Janis Bush, who is project lead as well as chair of the Department of Environmental Science and Ecology and associate dean for graduate studies in the College of Sciences. “This unique building will enhance our students’ experiential learning opportunities by providing hands-on education to prepare them to tackle environmental challenges facing our world, such as water quality, water quantity and water management.”
This is the first building of a planned nature area on the northwest corner of Main Campus within a dedicated 11-acre set aside for the College of Sciences. The Cypress Living Laboratory is a project under the Campus Master Plan and is the first new building at UTSA to be named after a native Texas tree.
“The Cypress Living Laboratory will serve as a unique and aesthetic long-term education destination for San Antonio’s K–12 students and university students to learn about the importance of protecting the Edwards Aquifer—our primary source of drinking water—while observing how the project’s [low-impact development] features, which are still a relatively new concept to the San Antonio area, can improve water quality,” said Homer Garcia III, director for San Antonio’s Parks and Recreation Department.
Ford, Powell & Carson has supported UTSA’s growth as San Antonio’s urban-serving university since the inception of the university. Fifty years ago the architecture firm designed the original three UTSA classroom buildings, Library-Administration Building and Sombrilla. UTSA alumni Celeste Taylor ’04, Mark Henderson ’14, M.Arch. ’16 and Andy Castillo ’07, M.Arch. ’10 are part of the current Ford, Powell & Carson design team.
Construction of the Cypress Living Laboratory is scheduled to begin this month and is expected to be ready for students, faculty and the community to use this summer.
Join us to kickoff the spring semester! We will have events happening all week and please participate in all that you can. Learn about upcoming opportunities within your academic department in virtual sessions with faculty, alumni, and student organizations. This is a great way to get involved in the UTSA COE/CACP community.Virtual Event
The Adobe Creative Campus Kickoff will introduce students to Adobe software and how they can use it to produce professional content for their courses. Students will learn about UTSA’s Adobe Creative Campus program and how they can access the software. Time permitting, there will be an overview of Adobe Creative Cloud.Virtual Event
Want to study abroad but aren't sure where to start? Our Study Abroad Information Session is a great way to hear about the options available to those interested in pursuing a global academic experience! Here you can learn about program types, scholarships, and other essential information!Virtual Event
Tune in to learn about the best picks for having an easy and fun digital Spring. We will be introducing you to the new Blackboard experience and showing you how to access essential digital tools that are free! In this session, you’ll find resources that are UTSA exclusive.Virtual Event
Zoom is now available to all UTSA faculty, staff and students as part of the newly acquired university site license! Join us as we review the features best practices for using this software for education and think about the best way to use it to work with fellow students, provide opportunities for student organizations, and more.Virtual Event
The COE/CACP Student Success Center will help build your resume of experiences outside the classroom. Join us to learn about what we do, upcoming events, and how to get involved in the colleges.Virtual Event
Meet with Writing Center tutors to learn how we can help you with every stage of the writing process for your writing projects. Then learn about how to communicate a message effectively using Adobe Spark. Some of your creations will be featured on our Writing Center social media platforms!Virtual Event
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