23
May
2016
|
10:10 PM
America/Chicago

University of Houston-Downtown Receives Approval for Expansion

IMG_6922Monday, May 23, University of Houston-Downtown (UHD) secured the approval from the University of Houston System Board of Regents to purchase a 17-acre parcel of land located immediately to the north of campus. Integral to the university's growth and development, the purchase increases the UHD campus to approximately 40 acres.

The additional property expands the UHD downtown Houston presence, and provides the preferred location for the construction of a new Science and Technology Building, approved by the Texas legislature in spring 2015. This large tract will also ensure space for other new academic and student life facilities, as yet to be determined. Architect selection is underway for the Science and Technology Building, which the University hopes to complete by summer of 2019.

"This additional land assures us the room for expansion and building that UHD requires to accomplish its strategic growth objectives," said UHD Interim President Michael A. Olivas. "I believe that the new campus footprint will be viewed as among the most significant developments in the university's institutional history." Vice Chairman of the University of Houston System Board of Regents, Welcome Wilson Jr., said, "This land acquisition assures UHD has the needed acreage for enrollment growth, campus expansion and development of new academic programs."

When combined with two other adjacent land parcels already owned by UHD, this tract will give the university control of a contiguous 27-acre parcel bordered by White Oak Bayou to the west, North Main St. to the east, the Union Pacific railroad tracks to the north, and the existing UHD campus to the south.

"The purchase of this property has been a University priority for a long period of time, and success finally came through the concerted efforts of Dr. Olivas, with the support of the UH System Board of Regents, UH System Chancellor Renu Khator, METRO leadership, Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner, and many others," said David Bradley, UHD vice president for administration and finance. "Going forward, the land gives us many more options to broaden the campus master plan."

The current campus—located on the north end of Houston's central business district—is landlocked by development and Buffalo Bayou, with limited room for physical expansion. Facilities include the One Main Building (on the National Register of Historic Places); the Shea Street Building; the Commerce Street Building; the Jesse H. Jones Student Life Center; the Willow Street Pump Station (on the National Register of Historic Places); and the newest addition, the Girard Street Building.

Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said, "This expansion is a sign of the growing demand for the excellent educational services offered by our premiere downtown university. It is good news for Houston and the workforce of tomorrow that the university is planning ahead and growing UHD to serve future generations of students."