[UTA Magazine]


The building blocks of progress
Construction projects continue to change the face of campus

Think of it as a law of physics. A force will soon cause John Fry and his UTA colleagues to be set in motion. That force is construction of the $39.9 million Chemistry and Physics Building approved in February by the U.T. System Board of Regents.

architectural rendering of the Chemistry and Physics Building
An architectural rendering of the $39.9 million Chemistry and Physics Building shows the rounded facade that will house a state-of-the-art planetarium.

“Growth of research activities in physics and chemistry has pushed the current facilities way beyond their original purpose,” said Dr. Fry, chairman of the Physics Department.

Construction on the 123,000-square-foot structure is expected to start in November with an estimated completion date of December 2005. The three-story building will be just east of the Chemistry Research Building and will house instructional and research labs and a 200-seat planetarium.

“The UTA installation will be the most sophisticated in the country,” Fry said. “The digital projector not only projects the stars and planets as seen from Earth but allows virtual trips through the solar system. Imagine weaving through the rings of Saturn close up.”

The Chemistry and Physics Building is the largest of several projects that are either in design or construction. John Hall, associate vice president for finance and operations, notes that the enrollment increase has propelled everything from more on-campus housing to additional instructional and research space.

Projects include the Fine Arts Annex, an apartment complex, a residence hall and a joint venture between UTA and the city to place the UTA Continuing Education Office and seven Metroplex agencies under one new roof.

The 64,000-square-foot Continuing Education-Workforce Development Center is expected to be completed by February. The first floor of the two-story building, at the corner of Mitchell and Pecan streets, will be used for continuing education and other offices while the second floor will house classrooms.

Construction is under way for the Fine Arts Annex near Maverick Stadium that will feature labs for glassblowing, metals, sculpture, paint, clay and printmaking, along with studio offices for faculty, common spaces and a courtyard. The one-story, 35,000-square-foot building will cost $5.4 million and should be ready for occupancy in November.

A jogging path and bike trail are among the additions to the Intramural Sports Complex, which is undergoing a $3.3 million facelift. Improvements will include new lighting, fencing, two softball fields and three multipurpose fields for flag football and soccer. Also included: a building with a meeting room and office, equipment storage and checkout, and a hard-surface area for inline skating, hockey and basketball. The first phase, which includes the north and central areas, is targeted for a July completion.

Work on the 120-unit Meadow Run Apartments on Summit Avenue should be finished in time for the fall semester. The $8.9 million complex will include 60 one-bedroom and 60 two-bedroom units, on-site parking, a clubhouse and swimming pool and will house approximately 250 students.

Construction is expected to begin this summer on a $19 million, 430-bed residence hall on the southeast edge of campus at South Oak Street and South Nedderman Drive. Anticipated completion date is August 2004.

A need to increase the seating capacity of the Connections Café has led to plans for an 11,500-square-foot addition to the E.H. Hereford University Center. Work on the $4.1 million upgrade to the building’s south side will begin this summer or in early fall with expected completion in July 2004.

The movement on campus may not literally demonstrate a law of physics, but there’s no denying that it represents progress.

– Jim Patterson

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