AUSTIN, Texas — Just in time for the spring semester, the new College of Liberal Arts Building will make its debut. The 200,000-square-foot, glass and limestone structure will give more than 10,000 liberal arts students a place to call home for the first time in decades.
Not only is the building the newest landmark for the campus, it is also a model for innovative funding and cost-effective planning and design. The building was paid for by the college — a first at The University of Texas at Austin — which means it was built without tapping legislative or UT System funding. Although final calculations are still pending, the total cost is projected to be $87 million, less than the project’s initial expected cost of $100 million. The model is one of the reasons the resulting facility was completed under budget and with more usable space – about 16,000 square feet more – than originally planned. More about financing.
“Many new buildings today are described as innovative, but this building truly stands out as a model for cost-effective planning and design in the 21st century,” says Randy Diehl, dean of the College of Liberal Arts. “This space will be vital in our ongoing efforts to attract and recruit the highest-quality faculty and students.”
Among its many features, the building includes:
- Smart classrooms with special attention to acoustics, sightlines, writing surfaces, seating and lighting.
- A skybridge connecting to the Student Activity Center, inviting traffic from all corners of campus.
- A spacious study lounge that offers views of the Waller Creek greenbelt. Open only to liberal arts students, the space includes a student workroom and two study alcoves.
- Designated suites (located side-by-side) for two of the university’s most distinguished honors programs: Liberal Arts Honors and Plan II.
- An entire floor for the college’s Naval, Army and Air Force ROTC units.
- An ROTC suite with a shared heritage lounge featuring a Missing in Action Prisoner of War brick wall memorial — salvaged from Russell A. Steindam Hall.
- Collaborative faculty spaces and research labs for the Population Research Center, a world-renowned research unit in the fields of sociology and demography.
- It is expected to receive LEED Gold certification from the U.S. Green Building Council. More about sustainable design.
Composed of 24 academic departments, two dozen centers and 600-plus faculty members, the college has been spread across 30 buildings. This is the first time the college will have a home of its own since Old Main was torn down in the 1930s.
Visit this website for more information about the new building and to view a photo slideshow.