The University of Texas System Board of Regents approved today a $10 million allocation that will help fund UTEP’s ambitious Campus Transformation plan, which includes vital infrastructure upgrades that will help the University achieve Tier One status.
The funds will help pay for ongoing and future campus projects that will enhance campus safety and the look of campus grounds, but more importantly, will provide the energy and utility support needed to conduct the University’s robust research agenda.
The $25 million Campus Transformation includes work already done along Hawthorne Street and Wiggins Road, and the 11-acre Centennial Plaza project in the middle of the University, which should be completed in fall 2014. UTEP officials understood this is the perfect opportunity to redesign the underground layout of utility lines and replace systems that have been in use for more than 90 years in some cases.
The $10 million from the Permanent University Fund Bond proceeds will serve as a match to an $8 million investment made by the Texas Department of Transportation for UTEP’s Campus Transformation.
The conversion plan started more than 10 years ago in an effort to “tame the automobile” and create a core with unprecedented access for pedestrians and bicyclists, with shade structures and the use of native and drought-resistant trees, shrubs and plants.
UTEP leaders collaborated with the City of El Paso to improve streets around the campus and to build one of the three new multi-level parking garages around the University. They collaborated with TxDOT on projects to improve access to the University from Interstate 10, the ongoing Spur 1966 project and the upcoming widening of a portion of Sun Bowl Drive. The Spur project includes a roundabout on Schuster and will create a direct connection with Loop 375.
“We are now ready to take the next step in this transformation process, to enhance the pedestrian space inside the perimeter loop route,” said UTEP President Diana Natalicio during a presentation to the Regents’ Academic Affairs Committee on Aug. 21. “In the process, we also have the opportunity to upgrade UTEP’s utility infrastructure – electric, gas, water and wastewater lines – much of which dates from the 1930s.”