RICHARDSON, Texas (July 15, 2004) – The University of Texas at Dallas (UTD) will significantly boost its research capacity with the addition of three buildings totaling more than 300,000 square feet of space over the next two years. The aggressive growth plan, which was given final approval today by the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board, is expected to provide added momentum to the university’s drive to become one of the nation’s “Tier One” research institutions.
Natural Science and Engineering Research Building
The centerpiece of the plan is the construction of an $85-million Natural Science and Engineering Research Building on the north end of campus. UTD officials expect to fill the building with high-level faculty and researchers, including some currently at UTD and others recruited to the university as a result of the multi-billion-dollar, economic-development agreement code-named “Project Emmitt” that was announced a year ago by Texas Instruments (TI), the State of Texas and The University of Texas System.
In addition, the university will purchase and renovate two existing buildings located off campus, one near The University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas to house UTD’s Center for BrainHealth, the other just a few hundred feet west of UTD’s Richardson campus to house offices and research laboratories of some faculty and staff from the School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics.
“We have made no secret of our desire to join the ranks of the nation’s elite research universities, and we have made substantial progress in recent years toward one day meeting that goal,” said UTD President Dr. Franklyn Jenifer. “Our enrollment, now about 14,000, continues to grow, as does the amount of research we are performing each year. At the same time, the quality of our faculty and our students has never been higher. The addition of these three buildings – and the commitment to research that they represent – will enable UTD to take the next step toward eventually achieving Tier One status.”
When all three buildings are fully operational, Jenifer estimated, the university’s annual rate of research expenditures could exceed $50 million – halfway to the $100 million threshold that many use to define a Tier One university. According to Dr. Da Hsuan Feng, UTD vice president for research and graduate education, last year UTD’s research expenditures amounted to about $33 million.
In May, in a report prepared for The University of Texas System, the nationally prominent consultancy Washington Advisory Group stated that U. T. Dallas had the potential to achieve Tier One status, but concluded it would take at least a decade for the university to reach that level and that significant additional resources would be needed.
The three facilities approved by the coordinating board include:
- The Natural Science and Engineering Research Building, a four-story, 192,000-square-foot facility to be built on the southeast corner of the intersection of Synergy Parkway and Rutford Drive on the UTD campus. The building, which will contain laboratories, a clean room and space for a business “incubator,” will be the second-largest building on campus when completed in the summer of 2006. Construction of the facility is being funded with state monies allocated to UTD as part of the terms of Project Emmitt, under which TI agreed to build a major new chip fabrication plant in Richardson and UTD is to receive up to $300 million in public and private funds to expand and improve its Erik Jonsson School of Engineering and Computer Science.
- Purchase and renovation of a three-story, 63,000-square-foot building at 2200 Mockingbird Lane in Dallas to house the research and clinical activities of UTD’s innovative and rapidly growing Center for BrainHealth, currently located at the Callier Center for Communication Disorders on Inwood Road near downtown. (Both the Callier Center and the Center for BrainHealth are part of UTD’s highly acclaimed School of Behavioral and Brain Sciences.) The acquisition was made possible by a $5-million gift from Dallas community leader Dianne Cash, whose mother had been helped by the staff and management of the Center for BrainHealth, including Executive Director Dr. Sandra Bond Chapman. The building will be named the Frances and Mildred Goad Building, in honor of Ms. Cash’s mother, Frances Goad Cecil, and grandmother, Mildred Crews Goad. Additional funds will be needed to complete the renovation and planned future expansion of the building, and Jonsson School Dean Dr. Bob Helms already has pledged $1 million in Emmitt monies to assist with that effort and to build collaborative research projects at that location.
- Purchase and renovation, at a cost of $9.7 million, of a building at 17919 Waterview Parkway, across the street from UTD’s campus. The two-story, 72,000-square-foot building, to be called the Waterview Science and Technology Center, will house the offices and research labs of a number of faculty and staff from the university’s School of Natural Sciences and Mathematics, currently located in Founders Hall. Once those personnel vacate Founders Hall, major renovations will begin on that building, which is the oldest on the UTD campus.
Dean Helms, one of the key behind-the-scenes players in making the highly complicated Project Emmitt a reality, said the new Natural Science and Engineering Research Building would be among the “best facilities of its kind anywhere in the country, on par with similar research facilities at some of the nation’s top universities, including the University of California, San Diego, and Cornell.
“We expect the building to serve as a powerful magnet to attract to UTD top-notch faculty and graduate students in the sciences and engineering fields, and to serve as a catalyst to help fulfill the Jonsson School’s stated goal of becoming one of the top 50 schools of engineering and computer science in the U. S. in the next five years.”
According to Helms, the new building eventually will house as many as 350 faculty, graduate students and post-doctoral researchers from the fields of electrical engineering, material science, chemistry, biology and behavioral and brain sciences, as well as provide space for small, start-up businesses, or incubators, that often spring from university research efforts.
“It will truly be an interdisciplinary mix of experts, which will encourage collaborations across numerous disciplines and provide a needed bridge between academia and business,” Helms said.
Groundbreaking for the building is expected to take place around Nov. 1 of this year, with completion of construction tentatively scheduled for July 1, 2006, and move-in of tenants finished by the following December.
The principal architect for the building is PageSutherlandPage of Dallas. The construction management contractor is Centex Corporation of Dallas.
The property on Mockingbird Lane, located on a three-and-one-half-acre site, will provide office and laboratory space for 50 research projects currently ongoing at the Center for BrainHealth. It also will house several current and future collaborative research efforts involving the center, U. T. Southwestern, Project Emmitt, Children’s Medical Center and other research institutes across the country focused on research and treatment of brain diseases, brain injuries and healthy brain aging. The principal architect for the building’s renovation and expansion will be HKS, Inc., of Dallas.
“We expect this new facility to become an important center of scientific research to help solve problems associated with the brain through clinical interventions and long-term follow-up – which is precisely the vision Dianne Cash articulated when she first made her generous contribution,” said Dr. Chapman, the center’s executive director. “When the renovation and expansion are completed, the building will provide the needed space to exponentially increase the Center for BrainHealth’s multidisciplinary research and clinical collaborations in brain repair.”
UTD’s Center for BrainHealth provides a rich scientific environment where researchers work side-by-side with clinicians and the training of future brain scientists takes place.
The University of Texas at Dallas, located at the convergence of Richardson, Plano and Dallas in the heart of the complex of major multinational technology corporations known as the Telecom Corridor, enrolls about 14,000 students. The school’s freshman class traditionally stands at the forefront of Texas state universities in terms of average SAT scores. The university offers a broad assortment of bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degree programs. For additional information about UTD, please visit the university’s web site at www.utdallas.edu.