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Tuesday, April 8, 2014

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Architect selected for UT System headquarters

AUSTIN – An Austin firm has been selected as project architect for the construction of a high-efficiency headquarters building that will consolidate UT System operations in one downtown facility.

Currently, System offices are spread over five buildings, some of them aging and costly to maintain. By contrast, the new building will house all System administrative offices in a nine-story structure with six parking levels and more than 258,000 square feet of office space.

The Page/ architectural firm was selected from among 12 proposals received. As project architect, Page/ will provide all of the new downtown building construction’s design services. The structure will fill a half block between Colorado and Lavaca streets on 7th Street. It is expected to be completed by early 2017.

“Consolidating into one building will save money – between $2 million and $8 million a year for the next 30 years,” said Scott Kelley, UT System’s executive vice chancellor for business affairs, who noted the new building will be constructed on property the System already owns.

Kelley said savings will be realized from decreased maintenance, repair and energy costs, as well as from revenue generated from leasing three older buildings currently used for System offices.

The new structure, whose total project cost is set at $102,417,000, will be funded by Revenue Financing System bonds, with no general revenue or tuition dollars allocated for the project, Kelley said.

To make way for the new construction, the current Lavaca and Colorado Buildings will be demolished. Claudia Taylor Johnson Hall and Ashbel Smith Hall will remain UT System property and will be available for redevelopment, including for retail use, once the new building is finished.

The historic, 132-year-old O’Henry Hall, at the corner of West 6th and Colorado streets, will also be available for lease to tenants, Kelley said.

About The University of Texas System

Educating students, providing care for patients, conducting groundbreaking research and serving the needs of Texans and the nation for more than 130 years, The University of Texas System is one of the largest public university systems in the United States, with nine academic universities, six health institutions and a fall 2012 enrollment of roughly 216,000. The UT System confers more than one-third of the state’s undergraduate degrees, educates two-thirds of the state’s health care professionals annually and accounts for almost 70 percent of all research funds awarded to public universities in Texas. The UT System has an annual operating budget of $13.9 billion (FY 2013) including $3.1 billion in sponsored programs funded by federal, state, local and private sources. With more than 87,000 employees, the UT System is one of the largest employers in the state.

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