UT Board of Regents approves funding plan for Engineering Education and Research Center

Jacob Kerr

The UT System Board of Regents approved a $310 million funding plan for the Engineering Education and Research Center at a specially called meeting Thursday.

“This is obviously a very important project,” Chairman Paul Foster said. “It’s an exciting day for UT and the whole UT family. We obviously have had some challenges, and appreciate what everyone has done to come up with this plan.”

The building will replace the Engineering-Science Building and allow the Cockrell School of Engineering to add 1,000 more undergraduate students.

The project, which was initially approved by the regents in 2010, did not receive expected state funding earlier this year because of conflicts between Democrats and Republicans in the Texas Legislature during the final days of the 83rd regular session. In his State of the University Address on Wednesday, UT President William Powers Jr. criticized the state’s method for funding construction projects.

Under the regents’ new plan, the University can borrow up to $150 million from the UT System’s Revenue Financing System while it attempts to raise $105 million in gifts for the engineering center by 2017. 

The plan will allow the University to begin construction on the building in the near future.

“What this does allow us to do is to get going on the building,” Powers said. “It’s a very needed building.”