DKR Stadium, Welch Hall construction projects continue as the semester begins

Laura Morales

As the fall 2019 semester begins, students should expect to see several major construction projects continuing from the summer.

Welch Hall renovations are in the final phases and are scheduled to finish at the beginning of the spring semester for the College of Natural Sciences, said Jim Shackelford, director of Capital Planning and Construction. 

“We’ve got renovations inside Welch Hall that will be ongoing to January of next year,” Shackelford said. “We plan to reopen the building for class for the summer session. That project has been underway for several years, but it is close to completion.”

The South End Zone of the Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium expansion began this summer, which will replace the South End Zone with additional seating and a new scoreboard in July 2021, Shackelford said.

Some construction projects are expected to begin and finish throughout the semester.

In September, Mike Carmagnola, director of Project Management and Construction Services, said work will begin on a new basketball arena where the Frank Erwin Center is located. Capital Planning and Construction will be realigning Red River Street to follow Robert Dedman Drive in December to open land for the University to develop the arena. 


“The arena itself is being designed and built by a developer to operate it for the benefit of the University and the benefit of the developer,” Shackelford said. “The University will then have the right to use the facility for events. Other events, such as Lady Gaga concerts and (Monster Jam), would be managed by the operator.”

Project Management and Construction Services is also finishing the Admissions Welcome Center in the Perry-Castañeda Library this fall as part of the larger Enrollment Management Initiative. The initiative includes the development of a career center in the Flawn Academic Center and the Texas One Stop for Enrollment Services, where students can get transcripts, financial aid and enrollment assistance in the Main Building.

“Those three major projects are to support the student experience,” Carmagnola said. “It is about serving students in the core of campus because some of those spaces were offices and/or units for things that didn’t need to be in the core of campus.”

Carmagnola said W.R. Woolrich Laboratories, the former aerospace engineering building, was also demolished, and construction of the new Energy Engineering Building is starting this semester. The building is projected to be finished in May 2021. 

Shackelford said Capital Planning and Construction completed the design development of an addition to the Sarah M. and Charles E. Seay Building, which will serve as a space for the Institute for Mental Health Research. At the Aug. 15 quarterly meeting, the UT Board of Regents allocated $20 million to the project, which is expected to begin in December. 

Computer science freshman Nikita Sharma said she had been touring around campus for the first time and noticed multiple construction projects affecting the flow of traffic.

“I feel like my tuition has to go somewhere, and it is nice to see how those dollars are being used,” Sharma said. “The only negative I can see about it is it’s kind of an eye sore, but other than that, it doesn’t really affect me.”