The Science and Engineering Innovation and Research Building officially opened 1:30 p.m. Friday during a ribbon-cutting ceremony.
President Vistasp Karbhari; Texas State Representatives Chris Turner and Tony Tinderholt; Arlington Mayor Jeff Williams; Duane Dimos, vice president of research; John Hall, vice president for Administration and Campus Operations; and biology graduate student Marquerite Herzog cut the ribbon with the burst of a confetti cannon welcoming the new building to campus.
“Just think that in this very building, in a few weeks, a few months, a few years we could, no, we will discover a cure for cancer, develop drugs that fight bacterial infection and neurodegenerative diseases, better understand the intricacies of brain function and develop methods to address traumatic brain injuries,” Karbhari said.
The SEIR Building is the culmination of two years of design and two years of construction. Mattia Flabiano III, one of the project’s lead architects, said there was close collaboration between faculty and the design team in the creation of the building. The building was made to encourage collaboration between research departments.
“We call it intellectual collisions, where you run into people you don’t normally work with, and that’s where the biggest discoveries come from,” lead architect Ted Hyman said. “So, lots of space is for interaction outside of the lab.”
The building will house research from engineering, science, nursing, kinesiology and public health. Notable researchers moving into the building include bioengineering professor Hanli Liu, who will conduct brain research, and chemistry associate professor He Dong, who will research targeted cancer and antimicrobial therapy.
Turner said, as a member of the Texas State Legislature, he vouched for the creation of the SEIR Building. He said he was proud for the part he played in its creation.
“But more important than the steel and the stone and the glass that we rightfully admire this afternoon, it’s the faculty who will teach in this building, it’s the researchers who will make new discoveries and advancements and innovations,” he said. “And it’s the students, most importantly, who will learn.”
Hall said the building cost about $125 million. There were three funding sources, including $70 million of Tuition Revenue Bonds, $20 million from the UT System Board of Regents in Permanent University Bond Proceeds and $35 million from Revenue Financing System Bond Proceeds.
Williams said the building makes a statement for the university. As UTA becomes a trendsetter for research nationwide, this building will serve as a game changer, he said.
“As an engineer, I’m excited to see engineers working with medical scientists,” he said. “It’s natural; it should be happening.”