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PHOTO 1 - UTRGV celebrates first anniversary

Featured: Second from left, Dr. Guy Bailey, President, The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, meets with students at the Edinburg campus on Wednesday, August 31, 2016, as part of celebrations marking the first anniversary of UTRGV, which was the result of state legislation in 2013 that brought together the resources of UT Pan American in Edinburg, UT-Brownsville, and the UT Regional Academic Health Centers in Edinburg and Harlingen. The Edinburg Mayor and Edinburg City Council, along with the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation, helped lobby the Texas Legislature and the UT System Board of Regents for the creation of UTRGV, which also includes a School of Medicine with a major campus in Edinburg.

Photograph By PAUL CHOUY

About a week before The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley in Edinburg celebrated its first anniversary, the UT System Board of Regents approved a major plan that will lead to the construction of the latest state-of-the-art facility on the local campus – the $35.6 million Interdisciplinary Engineering and Academics Studies Building. Meeting in Austin on Wednesday, August 24 and Thursday, August 25, 2016, the nine-member governing board, which includes Ernest Aliseda of McAllen, unanimously gave the go-ahead to the design development of the 53,400 gross square foot facility, which is being built to increase the number of engineering students, said Edinburg Mayor Richard García. The timeline for the project includes issuing the Notice to Proceed in March 2017, with substantial completion anticipated by November 2018. “According to the UT System Board of Regents agenda, this new facility will include six engineering teaching labs, two discipline-specific computer labs, eight 60-seat general classrooms, offices for faculty and staff, and support spaces for graduate and doctoral students,” said the mayor. According to UT System and UTRGV leaders, among the key goals of the Interdisciplinary Engineering and Academics Studies Building are: Increase engineering enrollment by 48% from 3,076 to 4,553 by 2028; Increase number of laboratory seats by 40% from 2,771 to 3,879 by 2028; and Reduce teaching space deficit by 32,233 assignable square feet (ASF). Additionally, the project will include an outdoor area to be used as a gathering and study space to relieve pressure on more expensive indoor space and also to support academic events. The $35.6 million Interdisciplinary Engineering and Academics Studies Building will located just adjacent to the west Physical Science Building, which will be abandoned and demolished.

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UT System Board of Regents approve $35.6 million for construction of Interdisciplinary Engineering and Academic Studies Building at Edinburg campus, Edinburg EDC announces

By DAVID A. DÍAZ
Legislativemedia@aol.com

About a week before The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley in Edinburg celebrated its first anniversary, the UT System Board of Regents approved a major plan that will lead to the construction of the latest state-of-the-art facility on the local campus – the $35.6 million Interdisciplinary Engineering and Academics Studies Building.

Meeting in Austin on Wednesday, August 24 and Thursday, August 25, 2016, the nine-member governing board, which includes Ernest Aliseda of McAllen, unanimously gave the go-ahead to the design development of the 53,400 gross square foot facility, which is being built to increase the number of engineering students, said Edinburg Mayor Richard García.

The timeline for the project includes issuing the Notice to Proceed in March 2017, with substantial completion anticipated by November 2018.

“According to the UT System Board of Regents agenda, this new facility will include six engineering teaching labs, two discipline-specific computer labs, eight 60-seat general classrooms, offices for faculty and staff, and support spaces for graduate and doctoral students,” said the mayor, who, along with the Edinburg City Council and the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation, consistently lobby the Texas Legislature and the UT System Board of Regents on behalf of UTRGV and its School of Medicine.

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

Mayor García (no relation to Agustin García, Jr.), along with Mark Iglesias, Harvey Rodríguez, Jr.. Ellie M. Torres, and Richard Ruppert, serve on the Edinburg EDC Board of Directors.

In addition to the mayor, the Edinburg City Council is made up of Mayor Pro Tem Richard Molina, Councilmember Homer Jasso, Jr., Councilmember J.R. Betancourt, and Councilmember David Torres.

“This facility will provide flexible instructional space with an emphasis on engineering students,” Mayor García further quoted the UT System Board of Regents agenda. “Additionally, the project will include an outdoor area to be used as a gathering and study space to relieve pressure on more expensive indoor space and also to support academic events.”

According to UT System and UTRGV leaders, among the key goals of the Interdisciplinary Engineering and Academics Studies Building are:

• Increase engineering enrollment by 48% from 3,076 to 4,553 by 2028;
• Increase number of laboratory seats by 40% from 2,771 to 3,879 by 2028; and
• Reduce teaching space deficit by 32,233 assignable square feet (ASF).

Funding for the project includes securing $30.6 million from Tuition Revenue Bond proceeds, which were approved by the Texas Legislature as part of a massive funding source, totaling $922,632,000 in TRB proceeds for UT System institutions effective September 1, 2015.

UTRGV also will be using $5 million from proceeds of the Permanent University Fund, of which the UT System and Texas A&M System have access, to bring the total investment to $35.6 million.

The planned building life expectancy includes the following elements:

• Enclosure: 45-50 years;
• Building Systems: 25-30 years; and
• Interior Construction: 10-20 years.

The interior and exterior appearance and finish are consistent with other campus buildings and with the existing Campus Master Plan. The mechanical and electrical building systems are designed with sufficient flexibility and space for future capacity to allow for changes without significant disruption to ongoing activities.

The $35.6 million Interdisciplinary Engineering and Academics Studies Building will located just adjacent to the west Physical Science Building, which will be abandoned and demolished.

UTRGV CELEBRATES FIRST ANNIVERSARY WITH MUSIC, CUPCAKES AND OPTIMISM FOR THE FUTURE

To celebrate its one-year anniversary, The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley marked the big day Wednesday, August 31, 2016, with two shindigs that included more than 1,200 cupcakes, a 2,000 T-shirt giveaway and a special birthday serenade.

In the year since UTRGV opened its doors to more than 28,000 students, the university has started a medical school, helped confirm one of Albert Einstein’s key theories, expanded academic programs, and garnered accolades from national college ranking sites.

“How many 1-year-olds can say all of those things after one year,” said Dr. Kristin Croyle, UTRGV’s vice president for Student Success.

UTRGV President Guy Bailey said UTRGV is unique, and he praised the UTRGV community for coming together to achieve so much in such a short time.

“You’re part of a great university, a university that is only going to get better,” Bailey said. “We have all of our bright days, all of our future, ahead of us. … The dreams of the Valley are coming true at UTRGV. … We’re going to do great things together.”

UTRGV Student Government Association President Denisse Molina-Castro, flanked by the SGA Brownsville Campus Vice President Alondra Galván and SGA Edinburg Campus Vice President Peter Averack, recounted the university’s accomplishments, including its role in proving Einstein’s prediction of the existence of gravitational waves, and UTRGV’s ranking as the third best college in The University of Texas System in Forbes Magazine’s 2016 “America’s Top Colleges” list.

“In our inaugural year, all eyes were on UTRGV,” Molina-Castro said. “Everyone wanted to see whether UTRGV would succeed or fail. …With hard work and dedication we’ve built upon these accomplishments to become the very best.”

UTRGV hosted birthday celebrations on both campuses – one at the UTRGV Ballroom in Edinburg and one at El Gran Salón in Brownsville – where students were treated to free cupcakes and T-shirts to commemorate a successful first year. UTRGV’s Pep Band ushered in the festivities with music, and the mariachi performed the traditional “Las Mañanitas” serenade to help celebrate.

The Best Week Ever continued Thursday, September 1, with the OGE International Meet and Greet at 11 a.m. at the Main Courtyard, Brownsville Campus; Picnic with the President from 11:45 a.m. to 1:45 p.m. at the UTRGV Ballroom, Edinburg Campus; and The Stomp from 5:30-8:30 p.m. at the University Recreation (UREC) Building, Edinburg Campus.

For a complete listing of events, visit the Best Week Ever page at http://www.utrgv.edu.

Read more about UTRGV’s successful first year here.

PHOTO GALLERY: https://www.flickr.com/gp/utrgvnews/0M3BMU

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Jennifer L. Berghom contributed to this story. For more information on the Edinburg Economic Development Corporation and the City of Edinburg, please log on to http://edinburgedc.com or to http://www.facebook.com/edinburgedc

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