March 8, 2018
Dear UT Community,
One of the most critical factors to consider in advancing the academic mission of UT Austin is how we effectively utilize our campus buildings and limited physical space. At a university as large and interconnected as ours, this can be challenging.
In 2016, the university initiated an assessment of campus space, focusing initially on the central areas of campus. The goals were to 1) understand how these spaces were currently being utilized, and 2) identify opportunities to more effectively align space with our educational and research missions.
While the assessment continues, we have learned a great deal and, as a result, are already realizing positive outcomes for the university. These include:
- $138 Million in Cost Avoidance – By reallocating some administrative spaces and repurposing the North Office Building A (NOA) as the future home of aerospace engineering, the university is developing new academic space without significant investment in new construction.
- 340,000+ square feet to be repurposed for academic and student support – Findings from the assessment will result in significantly more space in the heart of campus accessible to students. These spaces will be repurposed to directly support students and provide more space for interdisciplinary research.
New Spaces for Students
Our assessment has identified some key student needs. I am excited to announce the development of two new spaces in the heart of campus dedicated to students.
One-Stop Student Services Center
This spring, we will begin developing, in partnership with campus colleagues, a single, central location in the Main Building (MAI) for students to more easily access enrollment resources related to registration, financial aid, student records, and more. Currently, students must visit multiple offices to access support. The goal of this new "one-stop" is to remove barriers so students can more quickly and easily access the information and services they need to support their enrollment.
Center for Career Exploration and Development
We are planning to open a new university-wide career and development space for students in the Flawn Academic Center (FAC), based on recommendations from the College to Career Task Force. Many students already receive fantastic career support through their colleges and schools. The Center for Career Exploration and Development will build upon that strong foundation of support to ensure every student has access to resources that will help them succeed after graduation.
Impact on Campus
I recognize these changes have a very real impact on faculty, staff, and students. To those staff members directly involved with the relocation of administrative offices, I want to let you know that we do not make any of these decisions lightly and I thank you for your partnership in these efforts. These changes can be difficult, and I appreciate your patience and flexibility as we work together to optimize our limited space to better serve students. I can assure you that we will continue working hard to make these moves go as smoothly as possible. As we make progress, you should expect periodic updates to the UT Austin community.
The Forty Acres is a public resource. As stewards of a public flagship university, it is our responsibility to utilize facilities and resources in a manner that best aligns with our educational and research missions.
I am confident these initiatives will strengthen the superior work already in progress across campus and not only enhance the UT Austin experience for our students, but also help prepare us for the future.
Executive Vice President and Provost
The University of Texas at Austin