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Graphics: THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS SYSTEM

Featured: The following proposed seal for the University of Texas-Rio Grande Valley will be up for approval by the UT System Board of Regents when it meets in Austin on Wednesday, August 19, and Thursday, August 20, 2015 for its regular board meeting. The motto, Disciplina Praesidium Civitatis, is an approximate Latin translation of a famous quote by Republic of Texas President Mirabeau B. Lamar, who proclaimed, “A cultivated mind is the guardian genius of democracy.”
Graphics: THE UNIVERSITY OF TEXAS SYSTEM

The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley in Edinburg could expand by 53 acres, and a $37.6 million Interdisciplinary Engineering and Academic Studies Building could grace the existing campus under key items set for action by the UT System Board of Regents when it meets in Austin on Wednesday, August 19, and Thursday, August 20, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation has announced. The EEDC, of which Agustín García, Jr. is Executive Director, is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg Mayor and Edinburg City Council. The EEDC Board of Directors is comprised of Mark Iglesias as President, Harvey Rodríguez as Vice President, Ellie M. Torres as Secretary/Treasurer, and Mayor Richard García and Richard Rupert as Members. Those two items, along with the appropriation of $10 million for the UT-RGV School of Medicine and the new proposed official seal for UT-RGV and, are among local interests being monitored by the EEDC and the Edinburg City Council, which championed those measures last spring through the Texas Legislature. The measures relating to UT-RGV are part of the regular board meeting of the UT System Board of Regents, which will be held on the ninth floor of Ashbel Smith Hall, 201 W. 7th Street in downtown Austin. The agenda book and links to the live webcast for the meeting are posted online by logging onto: https://www.utsystem.edu/board-of-regents/meetings/board-meeting-2015-08-19. At the Austin meeting, the regents will be asked to authorize the recommended purchase of unimproved real property, totaling approximately 53 acres, located at the southeast quadrant of North Sugar Road and West Chapin Street, in Edinburg, from Norquest Family Holdings, Ltd., for “future campus expansion”. According to the regents’ agenda packet, the purchasing price will be determined by fair market value as established by independent appraisals, plus all due diligence expenses, closing costs, and expenses to complete the acquisition as deemed necessary by the Executive Director of Real Estate. The appraisals are confidential pursuant to Texas Education Code Section 51.951. More is known about the $37.6 million Interdisciplinary Engineering and Academic Studies Building. According to the synopsis provided by the UT System: This project will construct an approximately 77,000 GSF (gross square feet) building on the Edinburg campus for interdisciplinary space necessary to support enrollment growth in the rapidly growing region; the facility will include a large, 250-seat lecture auditorium, 150-seat lecture hall, 60-seat classrooms, and offices. Although particular emphasis will be placed on preparation of engineering students, this facility will also address flexible space requirements for other disciplines as needed. Additionally, the project will include an outdoor pavilion to be used as a gathering area and study space to relieve pressure on more expensive indoor space and also to support academic events. Design development plans and authorization of expenditure of funding will be presented to the Board of Regents for approval at a later date. EEDC’s Iglesias, who on Saturday, August 15, was unanimously elected President of the EEDC Board of Directors, welcomed the latest planned advances at the Edinburg UTRGV campus. “During our joint workshop with the Edinburg City Council over this past weekend, we reviewed what the EEDC, the Mayor, and the City Council, along with our state lawmakers, have done over the years to help get us to this point, and how very important UTRGV and its School of Medicine are for the economic growth and quality-of-life for our city and region,” said Iglesias. “We are dedicated to helping create one of the best public university systems in the nation.” Mayor Richard García, during his three terms as the city’s top elected leader, has played vital roles before the UT System Board of Regents and the Texas Legislature in rallying political and financial support for UT-RGV in Edinburg. “The UT System leadership recognizes that the future of Texas is right here in South Texas, which has one of the largest and youngest populations in the nation,” the mayor noted. “Just as important, the expansion plans by the UT System for UT-RGV are further proof that we do, indeed, have the brainpower, willpower, and strength of character to overcome all challenges and succeed. This is the message being sent to the world.”

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53-acre expansion, $37.6 million engineering complex at UTRGV in Edinburg, supported by Sen. Hinojosa, Rep. Canales, and Edinburg Economic Development Corporation, set for action August 19 and 20 by UT System Board of Regents

By DAVID A. DÍAZ
Legislativemedia@aol.com

The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley in Edinburg could expand by 53 acres, and a $37.6 million Interdisciplinary Engineering and Academic Studies Building could grace the existing campus under key items set for action by the UT System Board of Regents when it meets in Austin on Wednesday, August 19, and Thursday, August 20, the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation has announced.

The EEDC, of which Agustín García, Jr. is Executive Director, is the jobs-creation arm of the Edinburg Mayor and Edinburg City Council.

The EEDC Board of Directors is comprised of Mark Iglesias as President, Harvey Rodríguez as Vice President, Ellie M. Torres as Secretary/Treasurer, and Mayor Richard García and Richard Rupert as Members.

Those two items, along with the appropriation of $10 million for the UTRGV School of Medicine and the new proposed official seal for UT-RGV and, are among local interests being monitored by the EEDC and the Edinburg City Council, which championed those measures last spring through the Texas Legislature.

The measures relating to UTRGV are part of the regular board meeting of the UT System Board of Regents, which will be held on the ninth floor of Ashbel Smith Hall, 201 W. 7th Street in downtown Austin.

The agenda book and links to the live webcast for the meeting are posted online by logging onto:

https://www.utsystem.edu/board-of-regents/meetings/board-meeting-2015-08-19.

UTRGV CAMPUS IN EDINBURG TO GROW TO 383 ACRES

At the Austin meeting, the regents will be asked to authorize the recommended purchase of unimproved real property, totaling approximately 53 acres, located at the southeast quadrant of North Sugar Road and West Chapin Street, in Edinburg, from Norquest Family Holdings, Ltd., for “future campus expansion”.

Also according to the regents’ agenda packet, the purchasing price will be determined by fair market value as established by independent appraisals, plus all due diligence expenses, closing costs, and expenses to complete the acquisition as deemed necessary by the Executive Director of Real Estate. The appraisals are confidential pursuant to Texas Education Code Section 51.951.

Currently, the UTRGV campus in Edinburg is 318.1 acres in size.

The planned UTRGV School of Medicine, which is currently constructing a $54 million medical education building, and the existing $20 million Regional Academic Health Center Medical Research Division, which opened in 2006, are both located on a separate 11.6 acre site, formerly administered by the UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, all which are now are part of the UTRGV campus and under UTRGV’s governance.

SEN. HINOJOSA, REP. CANALES HELP SECURE $30.6 MILLION FOR NEW COMPLEX

More is known about the $37.6 million Interdisciplinary Engineering and Academic Studies Building, which is receiving $30.6 million in funding authority as a result of House Bill 100, by Rep. John Zerwas, M.D., R-Richmond, that authorized the issuance of $3.1 billion in tuition revenue bonds throughout the state for institutions of higher education, including in the UT and Texas A&M systems, to finance construction and renovation of infrastructure and facilities.

Canales was a co-author in the House of Representatives of HB 100, while Hinojosa was a co-sponsor of Zerwas’ measure when it was taken up by the Senate. HB 100 was signed into law by the governor on June 18, and it goes into effect on September 1.

Through available resources, UTRGV is adding $7 million for the project, with $5 million to come from the Permanent University Fund and $2 million from gifts/institutional funds.

According to the synopsis provided by the UT System:

• This project will construct an approximately 77,000 GSF (gross square feet) building on the Edinburg campus for interdisciplinary space necessary to support enrollment growth in the rapidly growing region;

• The facility will include a large, 250-seat lecture auditorium, 150-seat lecture hall, 60-seat classrooms, and offices;

• Although particular emphasis will be placed on preparation of engineering students, this facility will also address flexible space requirements for other disciplines as needed;

• Additionally, the project will include an outdoor pavilion to be used as a gathering area and study space to relieve pressure on more expensive indoor space and also to support academic events; and

• Design development plans and authorization of expenditure of funding will be presented to the Board of Regents for approval at a later date.

EEDC LEADERSHIP “DEDICATED TO HELP CREATE ONE OF BEST PUBLIC UNIVERSITY SYSTEMS IN THE NATION”

Area leaders agreed that the ongoing transformation of higher education based in Edinburg is invaluable for the city and region on many levels.

“Once again, Edinburg and the Rio Grande Valley will prove to ourselves and everyone else that we are a major center of higher education, that we have what it takes to bring the finest resources to empower our people, and as a result of our combined efforts and shared vision, South Texas shall continue to bring prosperity and hope to our region as we produce the leaders of Texas and the United States,” said Rep. Terry Canales, D-Edinburg.

Sen. Juan “Chuy” Hinojosa, D-McAllen – the House sponsor in the 1980s of legislation which brought UT-Pan American and UT-Brownsville into the UT System, and who in 2013 was the Senate author of the state law that created UT-Rio Grande Valley and its School of Medicine – praised the latest developments affecting UTRGV.

“What is unfolding before our eyes is the realization of dreams and hopes of generations of South Texans, who never gave up on creating a university for the Valley that is at the same high standards of The University of Texas at Austin and Texas A&M University” said Hinojosa. “There is much more to come, and sooner rather than later.”

UTRGV in Edinburg is located in Canales’ House District 40 and Hinojosa’s Senate District 27.

EEDC’s Iglesias, who on Saturday, August 15, was unanimously elected President of the EEDC Board of Directors, welcomed the latest planned advances at the Edinburg UTRGV campus.

“During our joint workshop with the Edinburg City Council over this past weekend, we reviewed what the EEDC, the Mayor, and the City Council, along with our state lawmakers, have done over the years to help get us to this point, and how very important UTRGV and its School of Medicine are for the economic growth and quality-of-life for our city and region,” said Iglesias. “We are dedicated to helping create one of the best public university systems in the nation.”

Mayor Richard García, during his three terms as the city’s top elected leader, has played vital roles before the UT System Board of Regents and the Texas Legislature in rallying political and financial support for UT-RGV in Edinburg.

“The UT System leadership recognizes that the future of Texas is right here in South Texas, which has one of the largest and youngest populations in the nation,” the mayor noted. “Just as important, the expansion plans by the UT System for UT-RGV are further proof that we do, indeed, have the brainpower, willpower, and strength of character to overcome all challenges and succeed. This is the message being sent to the world.”

EEDC Executive Director Agustín García (no relation to the mayor), said that the partnerships formed by the Edinburg City Council, EEDC Board of Directors, and state lawmakers, have made a remarkable difference.

“In May, the UT System Regents approved, for the Edinburg campus, the construction of a $70 million, four-story addition to the Science Building. Also that month, our state legislators secured $30.6 million for the Interdisciplinary Engineering and Academic Studies Building. In April, the $42.7 million, 1,000-seat Performing Arts Complex opened. Currently, construction is well-underway for the $54 million Medical Education Building, the first major facility in Edinburg for the School of Medicine,” said Agustín García.

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For more information on the EEDC and the City of Edinburg, please log on to http://www.EdbgCityLimits.com or to http://www.facebook.com/edinburgedc

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