By Ben Olivo | @rbolivo | Heron editor
With its School of Data Science completed and scheduled to open for the spring semester, the University of Texas at San Antonio received its final piece of funding on Thursday for its next building on Dolorosa street: the Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Careers (IEC) building.
The $124 million structure building would reside west of the newly-opened segment of San Pedro Creek Culture Park, between Dolorosa and West Nueva streets, opposite UTSA’s just-completed data science building, which will also house its National Security Collaboration Center.
[ Development Explorer: UTSA School of Data Science, National Security Collaboration Center ]
The funding was approved by The University of Texas System Board of Regents, and includes $52.4 million from State of Texas Tuition Revenue Bond proceeds and $72 million from The University of Texas System Permanent University Fund bond proceeds.
The IEC building, which UTSA has dubbed San Pedro II (the School of Data Science is San Pedro I), will “introduce additional interdisciplinary and collaborative programs in business, engineering and sciences to empower students for fulfilling careers through immersive, hands-on learning experiences,” according to a press release. For UTSA, it’s a new initiative that doesn’t currently exist.
“UTSA is laser-focused on preparing our students for their careers and bold futures,” UTSA Provost and Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Kimberly Andrews Espy said in the release. “This expansion of our downtown footprint reflects our intentionality in situating our academic offerings and learning experiences in the heart of our city’s business community. With this new building, we can expand career-focused internships, externships, other hands-on experiences and collaborative projects with our business partners.
“Employers directly benefit, as well, through first access to talented students, creating mutual opportunities for economic prosperity.”
The university expects to break ground in summer 2023, and for the building to be completed in summer 2025. It’s expected to open to students in spring 2026.
UTSA has hired the architecture team of Overland Partners and Gensler to design the 180,000-square-foot building; renderings released this week are for illustrative purposes, and do not represent the actual design, the university said.
“I am grateful for the support provided by the Legislature during its 87th session and to The University of Texas Board of Regents and University of Texas System for providing the funds for this project,” UTSA President Taylor Eighmy said in the release. “This investment of over $124 million extends our efforts, launched in 2018, to support national security, cybersecurity, and data sciences here in San Antonio. We continue to drive work force development and job creation in this ecosystem.”
The EIC building is being planned for a parcel that housed the former Bexar County jail.
The $91.8 million School of Data Science and National Security Collaboration Center was completed over the summer, and was funded via $75 million from the Permanent University Fund and a $15 million philanthropic gift from downtown developer Graham Weston.
Three years ago, UTSA announced its intentions to build on Dolorosa, as well as an ambitious plan to quadruple the size of its downtown campus west of Interstate 35-Interstate 10.
Those plans included acquiring city-owned property along South Frio, including the Frank D. Wing Municipal Court Building, for the expansion.
However, in an email last week, UTSA said it was focussing on its Dolorosa developments.
“We have chosen not to pursue any exploration of the possible acquisition of the Frio street properties at this time,” UTSA Chief Communications Officer Joe Izbrand said in a statement.
The city said it doesn’t have plans for the property, which also includes the police central substation, and has not been in talks with anyone about using it as a potential site for the San Antonio Missions new downtown baseball stadium. The site was one of a handful that was identified as a potential stadium site in a 2016 report conducted for the city and Centro San Antonio.
[ Heron: San Antonio Missions investor purchased land in May near potential baseball stadium site | Nov. 8, 2022 ]
Members of the new Missions ownership tied to developer Weston Urban were exploring the possibility of building a new minor league baseball stadium downtown, the Heron first reported over the summer.
[ Heron archive: Exclusive: Weston Urban pursuing land for potential sports stadium in downtown San Antonio | June 30, 2022 ]
The South Frio site is nearly adjacent to a property at 803 S. Medina St. that was purchased in May by an entity led by Bruce Hill, one of the chief investors in the Missions purchase.
[ Express-News: Here’s how the deal to buy the San Antonio Missions baseball team came together | Nov. 17, 2022 ]
“Any decisions about our future real estate needs will occur once the university completes a refresh of its strategic plan, which and will guide our future growth,” Izbrand wrote. “We are not a party to any discussion about the location for a proposed baseball stadium.”
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