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UT Board of Regents Approves $25M for Structural Research Center

August 23, 2007

The University of Texas Board of Regents has approved $25M in funding to construct the Center for Structural Engineering Research for the University of Texas at Arlington. The center will be one of the largest, if not the largest, structural testing facility in the U.S.

The 80,000 square-foot Center for Structural Engineering Research (CSER) will be located at the northeast corner of I-30 and MacArthur, about eleven miles east of the UT Arlington campus. It will contain the largest reaction floor in the nation and feature state-of-the art equipment and instrumentation. Because of its large research area, the center will be capable of studying full-scale bridge and building components.

The Dallas/Fort Worth area should see an economic benefit with additional jobs created by the center and an increased opportunity for UT Arlington to compete for state and federal research funding. And, as one of the largest structural testing facilities in the U.S., the CSER will bring world-wide recognition to the university’s engineering programs while also supporting local construction industry research needs. The center will also benefit the concrete products industry by helping to grow the concrete products market and provide facilities to test the effects of nature, earthquakes, fire and other destructive factors.

Last fall, approximately 3.5 acres of land for the CSER was donated by Hanson Pipe & Precast, Inc., a Dallas-based manufacturer of concrete products. Hanson Pipe and Precast is a division of Hanson PLC, one of the world’s largest suppliers of heavy building materials to the construction industry.

The CSER will be operated by the UT Arlington College of Engineering’s Department of Civil & Environmental Engineering. Associate Professor Ali Abolmaali will be the center’s director.

The Regents approved the allocation for the new UT Arlington facility as part of a $177.2 million initiative for 13 capital projects at several UT System institutions, largely funded by bond proceeds from the Permanent University Fund. The new capital projects will further the UT System’s global competitiveness efforts by positioning the institutions as some of the country's leading research centers.