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UTSA downtown campus to expand east of the interstate

by Ben OlivoSep 18, 2018

The University of Texas at San Antonio will immediately begin an expansion east of Interstate 35, out of the near West Side and into downtown proper, with the construction of two new schools, the relocation of a third, and the creation of new housing.

The $229 million expansion, the first of two phases in the university's 10-year downtown growth plan, begins now with site planning and design work on a $33 million National Security Collaboration Center and a $57 million School of Data Science, both of which will be located on Dolorosa Street near City Hall, officials said at a news conference earlier today.

Construction on both buildings is expected to begin fall 2019.

» The School of Data Science has also received a $15 million gift from philanthropist and downtown developer Graham Weston. It will be built on the 500 block of Dolorosa, kitty-corner to City Hall, on one acre of land currently owned by the city, according to a UTSA press release obtained by the Heron. The property currently is a city-operated parking lot.

"UTSA is building the best data science program in the world," Weston, best known as co-founder of Rackspace Hosting, said in the release. "It will train the smartest students in the field and make them the hottest commodities in the workplace. We hope that as UTSA creates them, the biggest employers in the world will come to downtown San Antonio to recruit their IT workforce."

The school is expected produce a workforce skilled in "cybersecurity, data analytics, business intelligence, and digital asset management," according to a UTSA release.

The new 138,000-square-foot building, which is also receiving $37 million from the UT System Board of Regents' Permanent University Fund and $5 million from UTSA's own funding, is expected to be completed by fall 2021, according to the release.

» The National Security Collaboration Center, which will be solely funded by the permanent university fund, will be built on 2.5 acres of city-owned property on the southwest corner of Dolorosa and South Santa Rosa Avenue, according to the release.

The 80,000-square-foot facility is described in a fact sheet as a "collaborative and impactful government-university-industry ecosystem engaging federal agencies, contractor and industry leaders, and academia to solve the nation's greatest issues surrounding cybersecurity."

So far, confirmed partners include NSA Texas and Army Research Laboratory.

The properties for both buildings, which the city is expected to transfer over to UTSA, are valued at $7.3 million.

For its part, Bexar County is chipping in its own Dolorosa Street land, which conjoins the city parcels, for the new College of Business, which is currently located on UTSA's main campus. For the construction of the new school, UTSA will seek $126 million in tuition revenue bonds from the Texas Legislature, when it reconvenes in Austin in January. The transfer of county land must be approved by the Commissioners Court. Construction is scheduled to begin in 2020, assuming UTSA receives state funding.

UTSA and the city coordinating on redeveloping the former Continental Hotel on the 300 block of West Commerce Street into housing for faculty, UTSA staff, and graduate students, according to city officials.

"The project will involve the renovation of the existing hotel and construction of a new building on the hotel's former parking lot," the release said.

On the west side of I-35, UTSA is seeking a private developer to partner on its Cattleman's Square Residential Tower, on property just north of the downtown campus — a 1,500-bed student housing project. The 10- to 15-floor project will include street-level retail and two levels of underground parking. A request for proposals is expected to be issued in October.

The second phase of UTSA's expansion includes several new buildings west of the campus, which will eventually house its strongUrban Education Institute, the School of Entrepreneurship and Innovation, and the Urban Science Institute.

Contact Ben Olivo: 210-421-3932 | ben@saheron.com | @rbolivo on Twitter

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