UT buildings to be ready by next academic year

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City of Austin construction workers continue their remodeling on the Liberal Arts Building located in the East Mall of campus on Wednesday morning. The project is expected to complete in the 2013 Spring semester.

Photo Credit: Skylar Isdale | Daily Texan Staff

New facilities for the College of Communication, the Department of Computer Science and the College of Liberal Arts will provide advanced technology resources as well as department-unified locations for students and faculty by the end of the next academic year.

Each of the new buildings is currently on schedule for their targeted completion dates, according to their corresponding websites. The Belo Center for New Media, located on the corner of Dean Keeton and Guadalupe streets, is scheduled to open March 2013. The Bill & Melinda Gates Computer Science Complex and Dell Computer Science Hall, located on Speedway and 24th Street, are both scheduled to open December. The Liberal Arts Building, located in the East Mall next to the Student Activity Center, is scheduled for completion during the spring 2013 semester.

The addition of the new buildings on campus will provide the Department of Computer Science and the College of Liberal Arts with a headquarters where faculty and students can share a unified building. Previously the colleges were spread out among several buildings on campus.

Nancy Hatchett, associate director of communications for the Department of Computer Science, said the new computer science complex will offer a complete range of services for computer science majors.

“Classroom space, labs, office space for faculty, staff and student organizations as well as visitor space and open collaborative spaces for both undergraduate and graduate students [will be in the new building],” Hatchett said. “There will also be educational, research, outreach and social activities, a coffee bar and locker room.”

The new computer science complex is named after its two major benefactors, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation. The two namesakes of the philanthropic foundations may make an appearance at the University once construction has finished, Hatchett said.

“An opening celebration inviting both Gates and Dell will be held at a yet to be specified time after computer science moves into the new building,” Hatchett said. Computer sciences senior Ross Gayler said the students and faculty in his major will benefit from having their department unified into one building. “Right now we are very spread out around campus,” Gayler said. “Now all of our labs and professors will be in one place instead of seven different buildings.”

The new Liberal Arts Building is being constructed atop the former locations of Steindam Hall and the ROTC Rifle Range Building. UT ROTC was formerly housed in Steindam Hall and will be relocated to a dedicated floor within the Liberal Arts Building.

Journalism junior Brooke Myers said she welcomes the addition of the Belo Center for New Media and said it will allow students like her to study the phenomenon of digital media in more detail. “Internet media is now a major factor in the daily lives of most Americans,” Myers said. “With the new building, we will now have more resources to study the topic more.”

Printed on Thursday, January 26, 2012 as: UT buildings will open next acadmic year