Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Construction keeping pace with UTSA’s rapid growth


UTSA will soon be home to a host of new buildings, athletic complexes, additional housing for future students and several new parking garages. The overall goal of these projects is to promote campus growth in what UTSA is calling the Master Plan.

“UTSA’s master plan is an integral part of this university’s direction,” said UTSA President Ricardo Romo, on UTSA’s website. “It reflects the values, goals and priorities of an institution that is becoming a premier public research university. It is my hope that this master plan will serve as a catalyst for the university’s growth.”

According to the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, “The new Academic and Administrative Office Building supports Closing the Gaps’ (CTG) goal to increase participation rates by promoting an increase in full-time equivalent (FTE) enrollment at UTSA. This increase in FTE enrollment is best explained by the impact that the project has in the CTG goals of success and excellence. The addition of classroom and class laboratory space will provide much needed capacity that allows more flexibility for students to schedule and enroll in the courses needed to complete a degree in a timely manner.” The Closing the Gaps’ plan is directed at closing educational gaps in Texas as well as between Texas and other states. The plan was adopted by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board in 2000.

“UTSA received the maximum score for usage efficiency of class lab and classroom space and has an academic space deficit of 1,247,026 sq ft,” according to the Adjusted 2011 Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board Space Projection Model. This is the second highest space deficit among state universities according to the Legislative Appropriations Request from the University of Texas at San Antonio to the Governor’s office and the legislative budget board. While UTSA uses its space efficiently it is clear that space is running out. Space for additional classrooms and laboratories could increase course offerings each semester. Classes are sometimes cancelled because the university does not have the space to accommodate additional students.

To address rising student needs, space will be assigned for 14 classrooms on the first floor of the North Paseo Building Phase I, along with research labs on the second floor. This building is designed to address deficits in administrative, classroom and lab space. 

            The North Paseo Building Phase II behind the University Center between the McKinney Humanities building and North Parking Garage was completed Oct. 8, 2011. This building houses administration and academic functions, as well as offices, conference rooms and facilities support spaces. In August 2014, a new addition to the North Paseo will be completed adjacent to the North Paseo Building Phase II.

The new five-story addition will contain administration staff offices that are currently located off campus. 

“The building will be approximately 186,000 square feet. Administration offices that are currently in lease space will be housed on the fourth and fifth floors,” said Engineering and Project Manager Robert Espinosa. “By moving Human Resources and other administration, such as Financial Affairs and parts of Admissions and Registrar, out of those leased spaces, they will not have to worry anymore about paying rent,” Espinosa said.

According to Espinosa, sources of funding for this project will come from various resources, including “permanent university funds, unexpended plant funds, other local funds and designated tuition” as well.  

Disruption during the construction of the North Paseo Building Phase 1 seems to be minimal. The construction site “has been fenced off and there is minor pedestrian path reroutes,” said Espinosa.

“The utility infrastructure has the most disruption due to utility lines from the physical plant building to the site,” Espinosa said. “This work is for telecom installation, electrical feeds, supply and chill water, as well as sanitary sewer lines. We will be rerouting pedestrian paths and temporarily closing off drive lines on Cook Drive.”

Other construction projects include San Saba Hall, which will be a new student dormitory, housing 618 students. It will be located at the center of UTSA Main Campus between Chaparral Village and Laurel Village housing complexes. It is set for completion by July 2013.

 Park West Athletic Complex Phase 1, located adjacent to the UTSA Main Campus near 1604 and Hausman Road, is currently under construction. This will include a new soccer field and track stadium, along with parking and other related infrastructure. Phase 2 of Park West will include the football practice facilities, baseball field, tennis courts and softball field. Phase 3 will include a new 10,000-12,000 Convocation Center and an area with bars and shops. Construction for Phase 2 and Phase 3 has not been scheduled at this time.

East campus will be left to its original state, as it is home to the Edward’s Aquifer Zone and endangered species habitats. Most of the new construction will take place in Central Main campus and UTSA Park West. The North Paseo Buildings Phase I and II will be located in the Leon Creek North district of the Master Plan, which will link up with John Peace road and library. The John Peace Quadrangle will connect Loop 1604 to the entrance of the North Paseo, providing access to Sombrilla Plaza.

The Master Plan was conceived in 2007. However, there is no set date for full completion of the Master Plan, as new demands are being met. “There was supposed to be a new science building already constructed,” said Espinosa, “but there was an immediate need for more classrooms, so the science building has been put on hold.”

Staff, students and administration are witnessing changes around campus as construction begins on several buildings. Sidewalks, parking lots and roadways have been uprooted and roped off since the beginning of summer, resulting in even more trouble with parking and traffic. Regardless of the inconveniences, great things are in store for the university.

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