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UTSA begins next phase of planning for ITC’s future

UTSA begins next phase of planning for ITC’s future

JULY 27, 2022 — With its summer Community Conversation complete, UTSA is preparing for the next phase of the Institute of Texan Cultures Centennial 2068: Community Stakeholder Visioning process.

UTSA received more than 600 responses on the Steering Committee’s three feasible scenarios for envisioning the ITC of the future. Two questions were asked of each scenario: (1) What resonates with you? and (2) What would you add if unlimited resources were available? The broad range of comments can be read here.

The first scenario envisions relocating the ITC outside of the Texas Pavilion and the Hemisfair district, where it currently resides, to either an existing or newly constructed building. This scenario would enable the institute’s land, approximately 16 acres, and facility to be evaluated for development in support of the institute.

“We are grateful to the San Antonio community for their robust participation in sharing their thoughts and feelings on the future of the ITC.”

The second scenario explores the option of relocating the ITC from the Texas Pavilion but remaining in the Hemisfair district—moving the institute to an existing building or constructing a new building. This scenario asserts that relocating the ITC allows its land and facility to be evaluated for development in support of the museum of the future while keeping the institute in a recognizable and growing part of the city.

The third scenario envisions keeping the ITC in the Texas Pavilion. This scenario could be achieved in multiple ways: by remaining in the existing facility with minimal modifications, moving into a reimagined facility with significant modifications up to full replacement, or placing the institute’s programming, special collections and academic elements in different locations that could enhance their potential use. It was the third scenario that received the most responses, with comments including memories at the ITC and a full range of suggestions of what could be done with the existing building.

“I have frequently stated that great universities need great museums, and UTSA’s commitment to realize the ITC of the future is centered on that fundamental tenet,” said UTSA President Taylor Eighmy. “Now that the visioning phase of the process is complete, we will undertake a thorough evaluative process of the scenarios presented by the Steering Committee that will help guide eventual implementation.”

UTSA’s summer Community Conversation ran from June 14 to July 12. An online survey, available in English and Spanish, was created to guide the feedback process. The community also had the opportunity to complete the questionnaire at the UTSA Westside Community Center, thus ensuring maximum accessibility to the public-input process.

The survey opportunity was shared with nearly 800 individuals with affiliation, association or connection to ITC, local community and government leaders, donors, 150,000 UTSA alumni and 1,400 UTSA faculty and students. The surveys were also promoted on the ITC website, across social media channels and through local advertising and media interviews.

 “We are grateful to the San Antonio community for their robust participation in sharing their thoughts and feelings on the future of the ITC," said UTSA Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Kimberly Andrews Espy. “The broad feedback we received will ensure that the diverse voices of our community remain a part of the foundation of this important process.”  

The Steering Committee incorporated the public’s feedback into its final report, which was delivered to President Eighmy on July 21. Today, the report and President Eighmy’s transmittal letter are available for the public to view online.

UTSA launched the ITC Centennial 2068 visioning process in 2021 to engage community members, industry leaders, elected officials and stakeholders as the university envisioned the institute’s next 50 years. The institution engaged a diverse, experienced group of community leaders and stakeholders—establishing a steering committee to shepherd the overall visioning process.

From the beginning, the project reflected a comprehensive process to engage the community. Throughout the fall of 2021 and through thoughtful discussions informed by expert resourcespublic input and a diverse group of community and stakeholders, the task forces explored different aspects of the ITC, including museum programming, community outreach and considerations around the institute’s site and facility.

The steering committee held more than a dozen meetings to evaluate the input received from the task force recommendations, additional public input and expert resources and to develop feasible scenarios to present to UTSA leadership regarding the future of the ITC.

The three scenarios developed by the committee are conceptual and serve as a launching point for further discovery and exploration of specific issues to move the process beyond the visioning phase. The intent of the steering committee’s work is to provide UTSA leadership with information regarding the community’s vision for the ITC of the future including programmatic needs and sustainability models surrounding the location scenarios to support the evaluative process that is to follow.

“As we move forward, our next steps include working with experts who have specific knowledge related to museums, architecture and real estate development,” said UTSA Chief Financial Officer and Senior Vice President for Business Affairs Veronica Salazar. “We will ask their expert opinion on the three scenarios presented by the steering committee in order to realize their vision for the ITC, while also determining the feasibility and benefits of each of the scenarios.”

The ITC debuted in 1968 as part of San Antonio’s celebration of the international World’s Fair exposition. Since that time, it has given a voice to the experiences of people from across the globe who call Texas home—providing insight into their past, present and future and showcasing the uniqueness and beauty of the many cultures that comprise Texas.

Tricia Lynn Silva

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of The University of Texas at San Antonio.

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