The 117,800-square-foot facility will greatly expand the university’s research potential.
Administrators from Texas Tech University and the Texas Tech University System were on hand today (May 16) as the final steel beam for Experimental Sciences Building II (ESB II) was lifted into place during a Topping Out Ceremony.
ESB II will significantly expand the university's research capabilities. The 117,800-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.
“This project will continue to foster Texas Tech's growing research enterprise and spur innovation that changes the world,” said Texas Tech University System Chancellor Robert Duncan. “We are fortunate to have legislators who recognize the importance of higher education and invest in our campuses through tuition revenue bonds.”
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 progress in this coming century is going to require that researchers and scholars, as well as the educational experiences we offer our students, think outside of isolated facts,” said Texas Tech President Lawrence Schovanec. “They have to view knowledge in a more coherent, integrated fashion. They have to recognize the great progress that's made at the boundaries of disciplines. This building was explicitly designed to provide for a juxtaposition of researchers and students to work together to those ends. It very much is a central part of Texas Tech's research enterprise, where we are now and where we intend to be in the future.”
ESB II will contain collaborative research laboratories and expanded state-of-the-art small-animal research facilities. 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 & Natural Resources, the College of Arts & Sciences, the Edward E. Whitacre Jr. College of Engineering and the College of Human Sciences.
“This beautiful campus is a legacy of the vision of generations of students, faculty and academic and governmental leadership to build a top-tier public research university in Lubbock to serve the people of West Texas and the state,” said Joseph Heppert, vice president for research. “This building will add to that legacy. Texas Tech is already a top-tier Carnegie Research University, but we will strive to grow the research enterprise in order to take our place among the top 50 public research universities.”
In keeping with Texas Tech's focus on sustainability, the facility is being 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.
“We are here to celebrate two things,” said Billy Breedlove, interim vice chancellor for Facilities Planning & Construction. “One is to celebrate a major milestone of reaching the top of our building. Second, it is also a time to celebrate the achievements of our construction teams and personnel who have performed the actual work.
“There are approximately 160 workers a day performing the hard work that you see. They are here working in the cold and heat. They are the ones who have placed almost 8,000 cubic yards of concrete, usually starting at 2 a.m. in all kinds of weather conditions. They are the ones who have worked 569 days without an accident. That in itself is a great achievement worth celebrating.”
The $77-million building is being 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 a Seattle-based group called Lead Pencil Studio has been selected to create the artwork that will appear outside ESB II. It will be installed next summer upon the building's completion.
Officials from Texas Tech and the Texas Tech University System broke ground on ESB II on Feb. 22, 2017. Anticipated completion for the project is June 2019.