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    UTSA is going to be making some big changes in the next few semesters.

    There are four major construction projects scheduled to begin in the spring and summer of next year: Laurel Village, a new on-campus housing facility, UC phase III, Rec/Wellness center expansion and a thermal energy plant.

    Laurel Village will be built in the area where Lot 1 is currently located. The location was chosen because the terrain is ideal and it is near Roadrunner Cafe, which was one of the stipulations for the project.

    The original location for Laurel Village was near the softball field, in Lot 1B; however, the elevation changes of the land would have been too costly to fix in order to build.

    According to Charles Lampe, director of facilities planning and development, parking needs are being considered while these projects are being planned.

    ”We are continuing to build and look at additional parking,” Lampe said.

    ”Shuttle parking is going to have to play a larger role here; that is just something we’re going to have to face.”

    The Laurel Village project is set to begin in April and be completed by June 2007.

    The total project cost is $35.6 million, which will be retired by rental rates.

    The UC phase III project involves a renovation to the existing UC and the addition of a new building in the faculty and staff parking lot in front of the UC and MS buildings.

    The new building will have a ballroom, additional meeting rooms, a commuter space with lockers, food venues and two bridges that connect it to the existing UC.

    ”The Paseo that is going to be between the buildings is designed to look like the Riverwalk,” Lampe said.

    ”It won’t have water, but it will wind and have plants around it.”

    The ballroom in the new building will be used for events in the same way a ballroom in a hotel is used.

    No new bookstore will be added; however, according to Lampe, part of the renovation in the existing UC will include better access to the bookstore that is already there.

    UC phase III is a $25.2 million project. $25 million will come from UC fees and the remaining $200,000 will come from parking fees.

    The new UC building’s estimated completion is January 2008 and the renovations to the existing UC will be completed in July 2008.

    The project will begin in the summer of 2006.

    The third major project is the Rec/Wellness expansion, set to begin in February. Two gyms are going to be added as well as a MAC gym, which will be multi-purpose.

    ”The MAC gym can be used for other things like indoor hockey,” Lampe said.

    There will also be a new weight facility added, as well as an indoor jogging track. The track, according to Lampe, was something that they wanted for the original Rec center, but were not able to have.

    Outdoor areas will be added in the expansions. These areas include a sports pool, a lap pool, sand volleyball courts, hot tubs and a lazy river.

    ”It’s almost going to look like a theme park,” Lampe said. “You’ll be able to take a tube down the lazy river.”

    The total project cost for the Rec/Wellness expansion is $42 million. $39 million will be retired from student fees, $2 million from student fee balances and $1 million from unexpected plant funds.

    The new building and outdoor area are scheduled to be complete in June 2007, the renovations to the existing Rec center will be finished in August 2007 and the gym wing will be finished in October 2007.

    The new building and outdoor areas will be added to the area that is currently open and unused. In other words, no parking areas should be taken over for this project.

    The fourth project is the thermal plant with attached parking garage. The existing thermal plant is next to the tennis courts. It provides utilities to the academic buildings on campus, but is currently being overused. With the addition of the BSE building, another thermal plant was necessary, according to Lampe.

    ”[The thermal plant] will provide chilled water and steam for heating and air conditioning,” Lampe said.

    The second parking garage will provide spaces to make up for the loss of parking when the UC expansion begins.

    ”The parking garage we have right now isn’t full,” Lampe said. “So [with a second garage] the parking situation on campus will have to be evaluated.”

    The thermal plant and garage will cost $16.5 million, to be paid for with designated tuition. The project will begin in April and be finished in July 2007.

    With these projects, UTSA may not be referred to as a commuter school much longer.

“Three of these projects are student-related, not academic,” Lampe said. “We’re really excited about them.”

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