Designs for $125 million modern glass-and-steel engineering building that will house programs aimed at building the ranks of a well-prepared workforce and expanding research at UT Arlington was approved Thursday by the University of Texas System regents.
Construction of the 220,000-square-foot Science and Engineering Innovation and Research building is expected to begin in the fall and be substantially complete in the summer of 2018.
The building will have four floors plus a basement for a research laboratory and a two-story instructional classroom wing that also can host conferences and workshops, UTA said. The wing will add 900 teaching seats that will be shared with health and life disciplines from across the campus.
“The SEIR building will enhance UTA’s capacity to meet the state’s need for the generation of a highly skilled workforce and intellectual capital while assuring that we continue to rise in reputation as an R-1 university,” UTA President Vistasp M. Karbhari said in a statement, referring to UTA’s national ranking as a “highest research activity” institution. “The approved plans support multidisciplinary teams working in large multiuse, collaborative spaces and will foster the generation of new ideas and solutions to real-life problems.”
UT System regents approved the final designs drawn up by Page and ZGF Architects.
The construction manager is Hunt Construction Group of Dallas, which built UTA’s College Park Center.
The UTA Science and Engineering Innovation and Research Building will bring together faculty across STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and health disciplines to make quantum leaps that will have a positive impact on people’s lives.
Vistasp M. Karbhari, UTA president
“Students are going to come out — both graduate and undergraduate — with a very good grounding in health and life research that can take them in a lot of directions — pharmaceuticals, healthcare,” Duane Dimos, UTA vice president for research, said in an interview. “They certainly could end up at other universities, but in many cases they may well be starting their own companies.”
UTA will encourage faculty and students to start up small companies to further develop and use their new medical diagnostic techniques and other “novel healthcare approaches,” Dimos said. “The idea is to take inventions out of the university and put them to practical use to help people.”
The expanded research space will be used mostly by the colleges of engineering, science and nursing, with the belief that intermingling the different disciplines could spark different kinds of innovation.
“Hopefully they will begin working together and coming up with ideas they might not otherwise,” Dimos said. “People from different disciplines working together and talking could create aha moments of discovery.”