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Texas A&M-San Antonio (TAMU-SA) is nearing completion of the steel superstructure on a $63 million Science and Technology building on the rapidly growing Southside campus. The building will allow the university to respond to demand for graduates with STEM training and skillsets.
“The building we celebrate today is not really about bricks and mortar [but] rather a revolution in science and technology. We are building today, impacting tomorrow and transforming the future,” TAMU-SA President Cynthia Teniente-Matson said.
TAMU-SA currently serves 6,476 students, a 20% increase over fall 2016. It projects steady growth, reaching 10,000 students by fall 2021. Through partnerships with local manufacturing and health science industries, the university will be able to help many students enter the workforce poised for career growth.
The new 137,000 square-feet, three-story building will enhance that pipeline, Teniente-Matson said at the building’s “topping out” ceremony on Thursday. It will hold “a significant number of classrooms and laboratories, where students and faculty will work side by side applying newly learned skills and engage in collaborative research to embark on new discoveries.”
The topping out ceremony draws on an ancient Scandinavian religious rite of placing a tree on top of a building in honor of those plants and earth that were displaced in its footprint. In addition to the tree atop the building, campus and community leaders signed a beam to commemorate the occasion. Bexar County Judge Nelson Wolff, state Sen. Carlos Uresti, and Texas A&M University System Regent Elaine Mendoza were among those who added their signatures to the beam.
“This is a major step forward to building a first-class skilled workforce centered around tech,” Wolff said.
The $63 million came from the Tuition Revenue Board, approved by the 84th Texas Legislative Session. The project is coming in ahead of schedule and under budget, Teniente-Matson reported.
Construction began in February 2017 and the building should be ready for students by fall of 2018. Because the initial construction came in under budget, TAMU-SA was able to approve an additional 22,000 sq. ft. addition, which will begin construction in 2018, Teniente-Matson said.