August 18, 2017
Texas Tech University administrators were on hand this morning (Aug. 18) to celebrate the grand opening of the new Architecture Building at El Paso Community College's (EPCC) Valle Verde Campus that they say will significantly influence architecture education.
Texas Tech and EPCC have enjoyed a joint partnership since 2007 in which architecture students in the El Paso area can complete their associate's degree through EPCC and their bachelor's degree through Texas Tech University-El Paso. Those students are then guaranteed acceptance into the professionally accredited Master's of Architecture program at Texas Tech's main campus in Lubbock. Before 2007, students could take architecture courses at EPCC but had to go to Lubbock to complete a bachelor's degree.
"This building is part of a joint effort from Texas Tech and EPCC to promote architecture and develop a program in El Paso that was not present there before," said David Isern, director of communication and outreach for the College of Architecture (COA). "We are the only university with a program like this and the only program in a border city."
The new building will house six studios, an auditorium, classrooms, laboratories and offices. It was financed with a $3.2 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education along with $1 million from EPCC. Alvidrez Architecture Inc. designed the building with input from students in the COA. Baines General Contractors completed the construction.
The Texas Tech COA program in El Paso will continue to reside in downtown El Paso at the Union Depot, but the new facility presents an opportunity for further collaborations between the colleges.
"A major grant we jointly received from the Department of Education led to the completion of a major discipline-specific building – a rarity for community colleges – and that will continue to strengthen our educational partnership, giving EPCC students a new pathway to attain a bachelor's degree in El Paso," said Robert González, director of the COA at Texas Tech University-El Paso. "We jointly received funding to build up our mentoring and advising efforts. So, it is a feather in Texas Tech's cap, getting the grant and seeing a major component – the building – come to fruition."
Speakers during the grand opening ceremony included COA Dean Jim Williamson, Texas Tech Provost Michael Galyean and professor Valerie Paton, who helped develop the joint program between the COA and EPCC.
"The inauguration of this 21st-century modern building will help us to further our collaboration with EPCC and allow more of our collective student body to see architecture in one of its most important capacities: great and thoughtful design that engages its context, its community and its culture," Williamson said.
"This Architecture Building displays a thoughtful and innovative design, manifested in its many thoughtful and carefully considered details, all of which are manifestations of great architecture. Most importantly, this building has the qualities needed to influence the pedagogy of architecture education, addressing its surroundings of the campus and the city and engaging the great history that is such a significant part of El Paso."
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