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UTA to add Science, Engineering Innovation and Research building to expand student opportunity, accelerate health science exploration

The University of Texas at Arlington is advancing plans for a new six-story Science, Engineering Innovation and Research building to help meet increasing student demand and to further the University’s emerging concentration in health science initiatives.

Map of the proposed location of the SEIR building

Proposed location of the Science, Engineering Innovation and Research building

The 200,000-square-foot building will feature a structural steel and glass atrium; be located southeast of Pickard Hall, home of the College of Nursing and Health Innovation; and will be south of the existing Life Science building. The SEIR building will include large multi-use collaborative spaces, large classrooms and lecture halls and innovative research and teaching labs.

State lawmakers approved $70 million in Tuition Revenue Bonds to support the project earlier this year and additional funding will complete the anticipated construction budget. Work on the project is expected to begin in 2016 with completion in 2018.

“Demand for degrees in engineering, science, nursing and allied health careers continues to grow, and given our substantial academic and research strength in these areas, UT Arlington is well positioned to become a national leader in health science with the addition of this collaborative research and teaching facility and state-of-the-art innovative laboratory space,” President Vistasp M. Karbhari said.

“We thank Governor Abbott and Texas lawmakers who saw the need to add space for engineering, science and health initiatives and understood the enormous positive impact that education and research in these critical fields will have on the economy.”

The project will be the first new research and academic space added to the UT Arlington campus since the 234,000-square-foot Engineering Research Building opened in January 2011 at South Cooper Street and UTA Boulevard. Also designed with collaborative academic and research space, the ERB has fostered a new generation of interdisciplinary faculty and student collaboration and enabled enrollment in the College of Engineering to surpass 6,000 students for the first time last year.

The SEIR building will house faculty and students in areas related to the health sciences and biomedical engineering. Collaborative research based in SEIR will increase UT Arlington’s national standing in science and engineering, said Duane Dimos, vice president for research and the University’s champion for the SEIR project.

“As we continue to strengthen research at UTA, the SEIR building will be critical to boldly advancing our strategic goals in health research and education by bringing together leading researchers in science, engineering, and health innovation in a new state-of-the-art building,” Dimos said.

The collaborative academic and research space also will further facilitate the accelerated pursuit of goals outlined in the University’s Strategic Plan 2020: Bold Solutions | Global Impact under the four guiding themes, with emphasis on Health and the Human Condition and Data-Driven Discovery.

The SEIR building also ensures that UT Arlington continues to be a significant partner in helping the State of Texas achieve its newly adopted educational goal of having 60 percent of state residents ages 25 to 34 possess a postsecondary degree or certificate by 2030. Currently, only 38 percent of Texans between those ages have a college degree.

Arlington Mayor Jeff Williams applauded lawmakers and University leaders for moving the Science, Engineering Innovation and Research building toward reality, noting the immediate economic impact of developing the project and the long-term benefits of workforce development and expanded research activity.

“UT Arlington really is seizing the opportunity to be a catalyst for growth and improvement in Arlington and across the North Texas region,” Williams said. “Businesses thrive in communities with premier urban research universities like UT Arlington. The Science, Engineering Innovation and Research building will enable UTA to scale up academic and research activity to meet our regional and statewide workforce and business needs.”

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed a bill providing TRB support for UT Arlington’s SEIR building and other public university projects across the state this summer.

UT Arlington is seeking additional funding for the SEIR project from UT System Revenue Financing System bond proceeds and the Permanent University Fund, as well as pledging to raise additional financial support in the form of private gifts and donations.

State Rep. Chris Turner, D-Grand Prairie, noted UT Arlington’s “need for increased and updated facility space” and described the project as critical.

“The Science, Engineering Innovation and Research building is essential for UTA as the school continues to establish itself as a leading urban research university,” Turner said. “The $70 million bond is a smart investment that will help countless students succeed through access to updated technology and courses, as well as attract additional research dollars and world-class faculty."

State Rep. Tony Tinderholt, R-Arlington, said: “The Science Engineering Innovation Research project is great for the University, higher education, research and for our community. Education is the bedrock for growth and opportunity. This project will add professional jobs, tax revenue, home building and endless other positive influences locally and for North Texas. I look forward to seeing the great impact this has on us all.”

About The University of Texas at Arlington

The University of Texas at Arlington is a comprehensive research institution of more than 51,000 students in campus-based and online degree programs and is the second-largest institution in The University of Texas System.  The Chronicle of Higher Education ranked UT Arlington as one of the 20 fastest-growing public research universities in the nation in 2014. U.S. News & World Report ranks UT Arlington fifth in the nation for undergraduate diversity. The University is a Hispanic-Serving Institution and is ranked as a “Best for Vets” college by Military Times magazine. Visit www.uta.edu to learn more, and find UT Arlington rankings and recognition at http://www.uta.edu/uta/about/rankings.php.

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The University of Texas at Arlington is an Equal Opportunity and Affirmative Action employer.