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Feature Stories

Our Universe is Expanding

Like mushrooms after a hearty rainstorm, our physical facilities keep growing and growing.

The fall 2002 semester features a number of new additions to the campus. Among them is a 150,000 sq. ft. building located next to the Grossman International Center by the corner of Hildebrand and Highway 281. The building consists of a three-level parking garage, resident apartments, a bookstore complete with a Starbucks Coffee Bar, and a Sky Room on the top floor that features a stunning view of the city skyline.

The Sky Room, which can accommodate up to 800 people, is the second largest facility of its kind in the city. It can be rented for functions such as wedding receptions, conferences, seminars and meetings, and can be subdivided into several configurations to meet the needs of the specific event.

The large multi-functional facility is part of an overall master plan developed through the years aimed at making the campus a pleasant, pedestrian-oriented environment, said Mike McChesney, a local architect who has designed many of the campus buildings during the last 16 years.

“When I first started out with the university in 1986 the west side of the property only had four tennis courts,” said Mr. McChesney earlier this year. “Now it is an entire athletic complex with student housing, and now a Sky Room.”

Another new building is the Gorman Business and Education Center, named in honor of long-time benefactors Jim and Tena Gorman. The Center, which has been incorporated into the historic Incarnate Word House, also is the new home of the Dreeben School of Education, the first named school in UIW’s 121-year history. The new building features 11 classrooms - two of which are capable of hosting seminars - as well as 36 offices and a 48-seat auditorium.

“We are excited because the building adds to the capabilities of the campus and it’s a great opportunity to have the latest technology available in all classrooms, and faculty offices conducive to a professional environment,” said Dr. Robert L. Ryan, dean of the School of Business, Applied Arts, and Administration.

Major renovations also were completed during the summer to the Marian Hall cafeteria, including an expansion of the kitchen, giving the entire cafeteria the feel of a European bistro, complete with black and white tile work.

“Everyone definitely likes the new look and the students like the professionalism of the staff, even their new uniforms,” said Fred Dement, Food Service Director.

“We’d like to thank UIW for participating in the renovation process and are pleased with the outcome of the timely construction.”

Another project that was recently completed is the transformation of the old bookstore under Marian Hall into a language lab, featuring six classrooms, and three office spaces.
Complimenting all the new campus additions is a new security kiosk at the Broadway and Burr Street entrance, which will serve as the only point of entry into the campus between 11 p.m. and 5 a.m.

The next major construction project looming on the horizon is the Math, Science and Engineering Center. The first phase of the capital campaign, which ended in July, was the largest in UIW history and raised $12 million for the center. Groundbreaking for this facility will take place in spring 2003; construction is expected to be complete by late 2005.
The goal of the second phase of the fundraising campaign, which is currently underway, is to raise $2.7 million in order to secure permanent scientific equipment and technology for the complex.