(VIDEO) The 117,000-square-foot facility will greatly expand the university’s research potential.
Administrators from Texas Tech University and the Texas Tech University System broke ground today (Feb. 22) for Experimental Sciences Building II (ESB II), which will significantly expand the university's research capabilities.
The 117,000-square-foot building will include an animal vivarium, four general wet labs, three instrumentation labs and two synthetic labs, in addition to offices, collaborative spaces and three conference rooms. Its construction was funded by $70 million from the Texas Legislature's authorization of a tuition revenue bond and $7 million in revenue finance system funds to be repaid by Higher Education Assistance Funds.
“Ten years ago the first Experimental Sciences Building opened on campus, providing an environment that helped to advance our research,” said Lawrence Schovanec, Texas Tech president. “Today, ESB II represents our continued investment in research space that is designed to foster collaboration between faculty and students, facilitating thematic and large-scale research projects. I would like to thank Texas Tech University System leadership and our representatives in Austin for supporting our growing research enterprise that addresses areas of state and national need.”
The goal of ESB II is to increase Texas Tech's research capacity by:
- Developing and expanding research areas that align with the university's existing strengths and address areas of national importance,
- Increasing the number of faculty with common interests within each research area who can collaborate on large-scale projects, and
- Expanding research infrastructure to support thematic research areas.
“The Texas Tech University System is committed to world-class research that impacts lives,” said Chancellor Robert L. Duncan. “The new Experimental Sciences Building will increase our capacity to do this important work in a first-class facility.”
ESB II will contain collaborative research laboratories and expanded state-of-the-art small-animal research facilities, said Mark Sheridan, vice provost for graduate and postdoctoral affairs and dean of the Graduate School who chaired the committee that solicited input on the design and utilization of the building. It is envisioned that the thematic research interests of faculty in ESB II, many of whom will be new, will emerge from the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources, the College of Arts & Sciences, the Edward E. Whitacre Jr. College of Engineering and the College of Human Sciences.
“The design of the common spaces, labs and support spaces better fosters collaboration between and among graduate students, postdoctoral researchers and faculty,” Sheridan said. “The improved animal research facilities enable research opportunities we didn't have previously; ESB II will have biosafety level 2, which is required for many types of biomedical research.”
In keeping with Texas Tech's focus on sustainability, the facility will be constructed according to Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards. LEED is the nation's preeminent program for the design, construction and operation of high-performance green buildings.
“The design and planning of the new ESB II facility is aesthetically in harmony with the Texas Tech Spanish Renaissance concept,” said Michael Molina, vice chancellor for Facilities Planning & Construction. “The technology solutions are centered around quality facility performance and energy-conscious design.”
The $77-million building will be constructed by TreanorHL architects, with exterior façade and interior finish design by AyersSaintGross. The project's landscape architect, Prairie Workshop LLC, has previously worked on a number of other Texas Tech projects, including Jones AT&T Stadium, the National Ranching Heritage Center and the Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center Memorial Garden.
As part of the Texas Tech University System's Public Art Program, 1 percent of the total construction cost of each new building on campus goes toward the commission of a public artwork for that building. Emily Wilkinson, public art manager, said applications are now being accepted for the artwork that will eventually appear outside ESB II; it will have the largest budget of all of Texas Tech's existing public art. Artists may apply online.