In December, UTSA began expanding its downtown presence with the construction of a six-story building on Dolorosa that will house its new School of Data Science and National Security Collaboration Center.
The $90 million, 167,000-square-foot building is being built south of City Hall at 506 Dolorosa—on 2.5 acres along San Pedro Creek—and is slated for completion in July 2022. UTSA purchased the property from the City of San Antonio on Dec. 15.
In addition to classrooms, labs and research space for students and faculty, the new building will also have a street-level cafe and an event venue for the public.
The School of Data Science is expected to house 6,500 data science students inside 86,000 square feet of space in the new building, which includes its Open Cloud Institute. More than 70 faculty members specializing in cybersecurity, cloud computing, data analytics, and artificial intelligence will also be there.
The National Security Collaboration Center (NSCC), which is currently located on UTSA’s main campus, is envisioned as a “hub for government, university and industry partners in the cybersecurity field.” Those partners will collaborate on efforts such as network security, cyber training and workforce development, attack-and-threat modeling and mitigation, and artificial intelligence.
The data science and cybercesurity schools are expected to collaborate with the city and county, whose offices are nearby, and with downtown’s growing tech district on Houston Street.
“There is no other place that has built an ecosystem combining the community’s business strengths and research expertise in data science, information management and cybersecurity like our ecosystem here in San Antonio,” UTSA President Taylor Eighmy said in a press release.
The building is being funded by $70 million from the Permanent University Fund, approved by the University of Texas System Board of Regents, $5 million from UTSA’s own institutional funds, and $15 million from developer and philanthropist Graham Weston. A block north, Weston co-built the new Frost Tower, downtown’s first new office tower in decades, and has plans to populate west downtown with more than 1,000 apartment units in the near future, anchored by an envisioned 32-story apartment tower on Soledad Street.
For Weston Urban, part of those plans include renovating the former Continental Hotel property at 322 W. Commerce St. into housing potentially for UTSA’s “future students, faculty, and staff.”
“The UTSA School of Data Science will be at the heart of the thrust of new innovation over the coming decades,” Weston said in a press release. “We can be a national leader in this field—one of the few schools that really separates itself from the pack. This is going to change the face of what UTSA is, and my prediction is UTSA is going to be famous around the country and the world in data science and cybersecurity.”
For UTSA’s part, the university is primed to develop adjacent parcels on Dolorosa, including adding the Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Careers Building, an extension of the College of Business on the main campus, west of San Pedro Creek, on land where the former Bexar County jail is currently being demolished.
The university is requesting funding through the UT system, tuition revenue bonds, and private donors. UTSA has the land under contract with Bexar County, and will be purchased once the jail is demolished.
There are no plans for UTSA third development on Dolorosa, 702 Dolorosa, which the university plans to purchase from the city in early 2022.
There is also no timetable or update for UTSA’s other ambitious expansion plan: the expansion of its main downtown campus just west of Interstate 35-Interstate 10.
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