Six new buildings concrete proof of UTRGV’s growth in 2016

By Cheryl Taylor

RIO GRANDE VALLEY, TEXAS – DEC. 26, 2016 – As 2016 closes, The University of Texas Rio Grande Valley marks its bricks-and-mortar growth with four buildings currently under construction and two more buildings recently approved for construction by The UT System Board of Regents.

Construction of all six facilities dramatically will expand capacity on both campuses.

UTRGV grows by 109,000 gross square feet of space in the two newly approved facilities, the Brownsville Multipurpose Academic Center and the Edinburg Interdisciplinary Engineering and Academic Studies Building.

The Brownsville Multipurpose Academic Center

The Brownsville Multipurpose Academic Center (MPAC), above, about 55,700 gross square feet, will be built directly opposite Main building on the existing parking lot, south of University Boulevard. To offset the loss of 288 parking spaces, a new parking lot with 296 spaces will be built on property recently purchased across the street from the Casa Bella student residence facility. Sidewalks will connect the new parking area with existing sidewalks to the west. 

The building will provide flexible instructional space for multiple disciplines, with an emphasis on physics. It will include four physics teaching labs, eight 45-seat classrooms, two multiuse classrooms, six 30-seat general classrooms, one math computer teaching lab, and offices and support spaces.

The Brownsville MPAC is financed by $36,432,000 in tuition revenue bond proceeds. The MPAC is designed by Overland Partners Architects of San Antonio and will be built by the Linbeck Group of San Antonio. (Artist Rendering Courtesy of Overland Partners Architects; Aerial View Courtesy of Google Maps)


The Edinburg Interdisciplinary Engineering and Academic Studies Building (IEASB), above, about 53,400 gross square feet, will be located in the heart of the Edinburg Campus, west of the Library and just north of the Student Union.

The building will provide flexible instructional space with an emphasis on engineering. It 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.

The Edinburg IEASB is financed primarily by tuition revenue bond proceeds of $30,600,000; additionally, $5 million will come from UT System Permanent University Fund bond proceeds.
Designed by Overland Partners Architects of San Antonio, the $35,600 million IEASB will be built by Vaughn Construction of San Antonio. (Artist Rendering Courtesy of Overland Partners Architects; Aerial View Courtesy of Google Maps)


Deputy Provost Cynthia Brown said every department is looking ahead, planning to accommodate UTRGV’s projected growth.

“Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) courses are projected to increase with the demand for graduates in those fields,” Brown said. “Although these new facilities will not be dedicated exclusively to STEM, they will add teaching and laboratory spaces and, in particular, will allow us to increase engineering enrollment by 48 percent, as well as make a 48 percent increase in entry-level physics courses over the decade following completion.”

Marta Salinas-Hovar, associate vice president for UTRGV Facilities Planning and Operations, said Overland Partners Architects from San Antonio already has developed the schematic designs of both buildings.

“Next, we enter the design development and construction documents phases,” she said. “The design team has been detailing the building plans for constructability and tweaking the design relative to spaces, sizes and other general facility needs and requirements.”
Construction on both buildings is expected to begin in March 2017.

“Once the contractor is given the ‘notice to proceed,’ the campus community will start to see activity on both campuses, as construction is expected to run simultaneously,” Salinas-Hovar said.

“It’s really not so far off in the future that these buildings will be up and operational, fulfilling their purposes, serving students, faculty and staff when the spring 2019 semester begins,” Salinas-Hovar said.


The 102,551-square-foot, $54 million Academic Building on the Brownsville Campus, is located east of Main. This facility will consist of two structures, each three stories, and will support general academics, science teaching labs, music instruction and recitals, and provide flexible spaces for study and student collaboration. (UTRGV Photo by David Pike)

The Science Research Building, 115,000 square feet of space on the Edinburg Campus, is being built adjacent to the three-story science building that was built in 1998. The four-story structure will include classrooms, teaching labs, faculty and researcher offices, an instrumentation research and teaching core, and research labs supporting biological and physical sciences, including biology, physics, chemistry, math, pre-med and environmental studies. At $70 million, the Science Research Building is among the first facilities funded for UTRGV under the Permanent University Fund. (UTRGV Photo by David Pike)

The $1.2 million STARGATE facility is underway along Highway 4 near Boca Chica Beach. Funded by a U.S. Economic Development Administration grant, the STARGATE Technology Park will allow research and collaboration on a variety of projects and will serve as a base for radio frequency laboratories, classrooms, business incubator offices and warehouse space near the SpaceX Commercial Launch Facility. (UTRGV Photo by David Pike)

The UTRGV Research Building at DHR, for medical research, education and clinical use, broke ground in October 2016 and will be leased to UTRGV in a public-private partnership between the university and Doctors Hospital at Renaissance and DHR Real Estate Management, L.L.C. The approximately 85,000-square-foot facility is located at 2300 E. Dove Ave. in McAllen. (UTRGV Photo by Paul Chouy)

UTRGV Senior Writer / 956-882-8787
UTRGV Director of News and Internal Communications / 956-665-2742