The Interdisciplinary Research Building’s construction continues unhindered

Valeria Olivares , Reporter

The Interdisciplinary Research Building (IDRB), located behind the Undergraduate Learning Center (UGLC) and bumping against Sun Bowl Drive, is currently on schedule due to a lack of setbacks, according to UTEP officials.

“I know that other buildings within the city of El Paso had some issues; we’ve had none,” said Greg McNicol, associate vice president for facility management.

There have been no surprises during the construction of the IDRB, McNicol said. This has allowed for contingency funds, which tend to be saved for unforeseen issues, to be allocated towards the construction of additional spaces.

Three sources provide the $85 million in funding that the Texas Legislature authorized for the construction of the IDRB. Tuition revenue bonds contributed $70 million, UTEP pitched in $5 million and the Permanent University Fund (PUF), which supports The University of Texas and Texas A&M systems of higher education, provided $10 million, McNicol said.

UTEP’s IDRB planning committee, which was appointed by UTEP President Diana Natalicio in 2015, took flexibility into consideration during the planning portion of the building.

Instead of serving a single college, the IDRB will house students conducting research from across the nine colleges and schools at UTEP.  Students will be encouraged to potentially collaborate with students from different colleges to strengthen their research.

The committee made sure that the design of the building would be able to adapt to the different types of research projects.

McNicol compares the IDRB to the UGLC because they both provide for the needs of students from every college.

“Different colleges use the (UGLC) building because that building has a unique set of classroom space that kind of takes care of everybody. This research building is going to do the same thing,” McNicol said.

In order to move research projects into the IDRB, students must present a case that explains their reasons and why it would be beneficial to move from their current college.

Construction of the IDRB is expected to be done by the end of 2019, McNicol said. Afterward, the building will be furnished in early 2020 to be ready to house its first tenants.