Written by Dailey Fuller
Texas Tech University System officials announced today (Oct. 24) plans to remove and preserve the Southwest Conference (SWC) Circle to a yet to be determined site on Texas Tech’s campus.
Located by the Exercise Sciences Center, also known as the old men’s gym, the SWC Circle will have to be removed due to construction of the new Petroleum Engineering Research Building for the Bob L. Herd Department of Petroleum Engineering.
“We’ve conducted significant forensic testing on the concrete and terrazzo of the current site,” said Michael Molina, vice chancellor for Facilities Planning and Construction. “The terrazzo is old, very brittle and highly likely to break. Our plan is to carefully preserve as much of the current circle as possible.”
Due to the fragile nature of the current terrazzo of the SWC Circle, only remnants of the circle are expected to survive the removal process. Those remnants will be augmented with new materials to create a newly designed tribute to the SWC Circle.
Now unused, the SWC Circle contains terrazzo and concrete artwork of the teams that comprised the SWC. The landmark was constructed when Texas Tech was admitted to the conference in 1956. It served as the site of pep rallies and spirit-raising events for many years.
Molina said system and university officials currently are studying several options for a remodeled and enhanced design honoring the SWC Circle.
“We are very mindful of our history, and our goal is to honor and preserve a tribute to our past,” Molina said. “The new project will not be an exact reproduction of the old SWC Circle, but rather an improved and more encompassing design that showcases and includes multiple facets of the university’s several athletic conference affiliations.”
The new engineering research building is a $20 million project and will house 40,000 square feet of formal teaching environments with hands-on applications and modern research facilities. Funding was provided entirely through generous donor support during the Texas Tech University System’s $1 billion capital campaign, Vision & Tradition: The Campaign for Texas Tech. Construction is expected to be completed in time to offer courses and instruction in fall 2013.