Prairie View: TAMU Regents Add $70 Million Project to Capital Plan for New Engineering/Research Building
Feature Photo (above): The N.A. Kennedy Architecture Building at Prairie View A&M University. Image: Google Streets.
by Adolfo Pesquera
Prairie View (Waller County) — A new $70 million Engineering Classroom and Research Building is coming to the Prairie View A&M University.
The Texas A&M University System Board of Regents agreed this week to include the new building in the 2020-2024 TAMU Capital Plan.
Their decision included the appropriation of $7 million for pre-construction services. That funding is contingent upon completion of a Program of Requirements scoped to the budget.
The new Engineering Classroom and Research Building project , as part of the Roy G. Perry College of Engineering, will be located on a site west of EE O’Banion Street and south of DW Martin Street.
This project is envisioned as a three-story building with adjacent high-bay facility. Spaces within are to include:
Instructional Space: (a) general purpose and cooperative learning classrooms; (b) computer labs; (c) specialized instructional labs supporting chemical engineering, mechanical engineering, and civil engineering, including spaces for fabrication and assembly.
Research Labs: (a) standardized wet labs for biomedical, biomimetic, thermo-fluid, advanced materials research, energy systems, and solids+particulate research; (b) smart manufacturing labs for researching advanced manufacturing, materials, devices/sensors, automation and control, building efficiency, and robotics; (c) computational labs for high performance computing, Big Data/Machine Learning/AI, Process Systems engineering, virtual prototyping, and water resources+geoinformatics.
Offices and Support Space.
The project includes site preparation, including selective demolition of an existing parking lot, utility extensions, walkways, new parking and landscaping.
A more definitive project scope and budget will be determined during the pre-construction phase and approved by the Board of Regents prior to the construction contract award.
The new building is needed due to student enrollment growth and aging existing facilities. The engineering complex currently consists of five buildings, of which four are more than 40 years old. The fifth building, Electrical Engineering, was built 16 years ago.
Enrollment at the College of Engineering has grown rapidly, from 969 students in 2010 to 1,635 in 2018. The number of graduate students has nearly tripled. There are also now more than 85 faculty and researchers.
However, no new space has been added to the engineering complex in more than 16 years. Labs are overcrowded. Students complain there is no room for collaborative work and no room for storage.
The college’s forward-thinking strategic plan is to grow research capabilities, bring state-of-the-art research and teaching labs, and create collaborative spaces.
The new Engineering Classroom & Research Building is to be located within the area on campus highlighted in purple. Image: Google Earth/graphic by Adolfo Pesquera.
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.