Austin: UT System Regents All Set to Release $159 Million for Projects at Five Campuses
Feature Photo (above): UTRGV Academic and Clinical Research Building, 2102 Treasure Hills Blvd., Harlingen. Image: Google Streets.
by Adolfo Pesquera
Austin (Travis County) — The University of Texas System Board of Regents have teed up six construction projects on five campuses and are expected to authorize expenditures totaling $159 million.
The regents will meet Wednesday and Thursday and included on the agenda are capital program projects in Austin, Dallas, Harlingen and Houston.
$30 million to UT Rio Grande Valley for design development of a School of Medicine Institute of Neurosciences.
$38 million to UT Austin for the realignment of Red River Street.
$37 million to UT Southwestern Medical Center to renovate the Aston Ambulatory Care Building.
$26 million to UT Arlington to construct a new Administrative & Faculty Support Services Building
$14.5 million to UT MD Anderson Cancer Care to renovate the Alkek Hospital Main Building.
$13.5 million to UT MD Anderson Cancer Care to demolish the Dental Branch Building.
UTRGV Neurosciences Building:
In 2012, the regents agreed to invest $100 million over the subsequent 10-year period to establish a School of Medicine in the Rio Grande Valley. Half of that amount was previously allocated. On Aug. 15, the regents approved the remaining $50 million. However, this project was included in the Capital Improvement Program with a total project cost of $30 million.
The project site is within a 35-acre tract and next to the Clinical Education Building.
The summary to the Board of Regents states, “The facility will advance one of the core research priorities for the School of Medicine of alleviating the space demand in clinical and research areas. The building will house dry research labs, core imaging, a therapy center, administrative, support and collaborative areas, and community focused spaces.
The facility will serve as a world-class site for the departments of neurology, psychiatry, and neurosciences and will house clinics and diagnostic centers for numerous neuropsychiatric and aging disorders.
The project is expected to consist of two or three phases over several years and to be a designated center for research on brain health and other aspects of neurosciences.”
This first phase is planned to include clinical, shared clinical, clinical research, imaging, core research, satellite vivarium, collaboration and support space.
The building area is to be 32,570 gross square feet and has an estimated building cost of $16,779,132. The delivery method is construction manager at risk.
The construction notice to proceed is expected to occur in March 2020, with substantial completion being achieved June 2021.
The existing route of Red River Street (in blue) will realign along Robert Dedman Drive (orange dashed line) and Medical Arts Street, then reconnect to Red River.
UT-Austin Red River Street:
Much of the existing route of Red River Road that is in or adjacent to the UT-Austin campus is to be vacated and realigned so that it follows more or less the current path of Robert Dedman Drive and Medical Arts Street. The proposed project extends north-south in a more direct way and is limited to 18th Street on the south end to 32nd Street on the north end.
The name of the new street will remain Robert Dedman Drive.
The scope of this project involves design and construction of new paving, curb and gutter, street lighting, pedestrian lighting, landscaping and other amenities. The realignment will support the construction of the new 15,000-seat arena. The realignment will provide improved access for fans, visitors and the public to venue events.
The site development costs total $30,743,016. Other costs have to do with professional fees, insurance and a project contingency fund. Designs have been completed and the delivery method is CMAR.
This week’s action includes amending the CIP to include the realignment project, and the Notice to Proceed with construction.
The street work should be completed July 2021.
The James W. Aston Ambulatory Care Building, built in 1983, needs major renovations.
The proposed project allows for expansion of the neuroscience and ophthalmology clinics; it provides a central core of clinical research space for investigators and their patients; and it addresses building infrastructure issues–mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems, and ADA regulatory compliance deficiencies.
Of the $37 million approved, $28,593,250 has been earmarked for building costs.
This week’s action adds the project to the CIP. Approval of design development and Notice to Proceed to construction is scheduled for January 2020.
Substantial completion should occur by July 2021.
A three-story building is to be constructed with an open office environment. It will provide training room and conference room spaces, and a media production area. About half of the building will house the Office of Information Technology, currently housed at the Arlington Regional Data Center in Fort Worth.
The remaining space will focus on faculty support, including the Center for Research on Teaching and Learning Excellence and the Link Lab.
The building area is to have 57,265 gross square feet. Of the $26 million allocated, $17,126,230 is for building cost. Another $250,000 will be spent on site development.
Design development approval is anticipated to occur February 2020, and the Notice to Proceed to construction follows in March 2020. Substantial completion is anticipated by January 2021. The delivery method is Design/Build.
UT MD Anderson Alkek Building:
The project involves general renovations throughout Floor 12 of the Alkek Hospital to renew finishes and infrastructure systems, to restore patient rooms that had been partially removed from service to full service, to renovate the nurse stations, and to enclose medicine preparation areas. Floor 11 will be impacted as hard ceilings on that floor will need to be removed and replaced. The renovations are needed to increase clinical capacity, improve the overall patient experience, and bring the sterile processing area into compliance with accreditation requirements.
Of the $14.5 million allocated, $10,200,000 goes to building cost.
This is also a CMAR delivery project. Design development is being approved this week and the Notice to Proceed to construction is scheduled for April 2020.
UT MD Anderson Dental Branch Building:
This project involves the demolition of a building that was formerly occupied by the UT Health Science Center Dental School. The building has seven levels including a basement level and a utility service tunnel that connects with the UT MD Anderson Main Building complex.
The work is expected to include the abatement of asbestos containing materials, as well as any other hazardous materials that may be present. The project is expected to include deconstruction of the building, rather than implosion, as well as modification of an existing flood wall system, shoring, removal of basement walls, protection of buried underground utilities,and analysis of capacities for existing infrastructure to support future site development.
Finally, a portion of the site is to be developed as surface parking, on an interim basis, to support valet services for the Main Building complex.
Of the total appropriated, $11,312,500 is budgeted for demolition. This is a Design/Build delivery method.
This week’s action includes addition to the CIP, approval of the design, and Notice to Proceed to construction.
Adolfo Pesquera (Reporter/Editor) is a veteran news journalist. He has worked for Hearst Corp., American Lawyer Media, News Corp and Freedom Communications. His work has been published in newspapers and magazines across the USA. He is a journalism graduate of UT-RGV. He writes, edits and creates digital pages for VBX.