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2 buildings going up in Brownsville

Bartlett Cocke General Contractors workers continue construction on two three-story academic buildings next to the Main Building last Wednesday on the Brownsville campus. The buildings are expected to open in Spring 2018.MICHELLE ESPINOZA/ THE RIDER

One of the big concerns since UTRGV opened last fall semester was the lack of classroom space on the Brownsville campus. To address this issue, the university began construction of two buildings that will open in Spring 2018.

Bartlett Cocke General Contractors started construction in mid-January for the new academic buildings next to Main Building on West University Boulevard. The buildings will have three stories

“They will be arranged to create a courtyard-type area,” said Patrick Gonzales, assistant vice president of University Marketing and Communications. “The facility will support general academics, music instruction and recitals, science teaching labs, and flexible student collaboration and study space.”

The price tag for the two buildings is $54 million that will be paid with monies from the Permanent University Fund from the University of Texas System, Gonzales said.

These buildings will be beneficial for the Music Department on the Brownsville campus since it is currently housed in Eidman Hall on the Texas Southmost College campus.

The music building will have a general purpose meeting room, which will double as a recital hall. It will have two rehearsal halls, 10 individual practice rooms, 18 teaching studios/faculty offices, a music library, an electric piano lab, technology lab, 20 faculty offices with three department chair offices and offices for the Patron of the Arts program, according to an email from Marta Salinas-Hovar, associate vice president of Facilities Planning and Operations.

“It’s going to make a huge difference in everybody’s experience–students and professors and staff–to have everyday operation in a facility that’s designed to support what our mission is: to create high-quality instructional environments for music,” said Michael Quantz, a professor in the Music Department and the College of Fine Arts representative on the design committee for the structure.

The other building will be used mainly for general purpose instruction and the Learning Center with tutoring, study and meeting rooms. The building will also house four chemistry laboratories and their respective prep rooms, one advanced chemistry lab, an instrumentation room, two environmental science labs and one environmental science research lab with its respective prep room, Salinas-Hovar wrote in the email.

“It helps solve the concern of lack of classroom space in Brownsville,” Gonzales said. “This building itself will almost double the amount of classroom space that’s available now. It’s very important for us to have more classroom space in Brownsville.”

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