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The Prospector

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Assayer of Student Opinion.

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UTEP says farewell to the Liberal Arts Building

A rendering of the new Texas Western Hall that will replace the current Liberal Arts Building. Photo courtesy of UTEP.

As students and faculty stroll through Centennial Plaza, they’re welcomed by the Liberal Arts Building that has held its ground at UTEP since 1961. Over six decades later, the building will soon have a new home. 

Texas Western Hall, the building that will replace the Liberal Arts Building, will open in December 2025, with the first classes prospectively held in January 2026. The university hit the ground running with construction last year in October and crawler cranes became a part of the campus skyline.   

The location of the new building will be behind the current Liberal Arts Building, Anadeli Bencomo, Ph.D., Dean of the College of Liberal Arts, discussed how finding the perfect location for this new building was one of the first challenges.   

“This building is central to campus,” Bencomo said. “When you talk to the alumni, they always remember having classes here in liberal arts, so we didn’t want to place Texas Western Hall in one of the corners on campus. We wanted to be close to Centennial Plaza because this building is going to be the heart of student body life at UTEP.” 

The building will have four floors, and all areas of Texas Western Hall will be Americans with Disabilities (ADA) accessible. According to Bencomo, and Rafael Valadez, Ph.D., Assistant Dean, this new building will have 68% space dedicated to the students and 32% for offices.   

“During the discussions and planning it was paramount taking care of learning environments. How do we build this space that will offer the students collaborative opportunities that offer them a comfortable space between classes,” Bencomo said. “When we were imagining the building, it was like a marriage between the Union and the College of Liberal Arts, it is that building where you want to go and stay.”  

Designed for the students, the building will have multiple study areas on all floors and outside. There will also be vending machines, a food market, and private cubicles for students to study. Student organizations offices will also call this building their new home, along with LACIT (Liberal Arts Center for Instructional Technology) and CLASS (College of Liberal Arts Student Success Center). 

The upcoming building will feature modern classrooms equipped with interactive screens on all walls, plug-ins on most tables, and transparent doors to ensure the safety of both students and teachers. However, the classroom specifications are subject to change according to Bencomo, and Rafael Valadez. 

“This new building is costing the university more than a hundred million dollars, so put that into context how much we have had advanced in terms of technology of construction, but we need to buy the best technology,” Bencomo said. “Technology that will serve us now and will be serving our students twenty years from now, so this is a building that is visionary.”  

As Texas Western Hall is under construction, the Liberal Arts building will continue to be maintained and modified until 2026, Facilities and Environmental Safety confirmed in December 2023 that the building is up-to-date and safe for students. 

“We are aware that it is an old building and new students and generations are coming into UTEP and UTEP wants to evolve with the new generations, so the university is building the new Texas Western Hall to take the place of the liberal arts building,” Regina Reza, Collegiate Senator of Liberal Arts said.  

Over the years some students have reported concerns and issues about the Liberal Arts building such as strange noises, bad smells, broken equipment and chairs and not ADA – accessible according to a student survey done by Reza.  

Reza continues to stress that the UTEP Student Government Association (SGA) and the deans of the College of Liberal Arts are listening to the students’ voices and concerns about the building many UTEP students encounter. Although Texas Western Hall is still in development, Reza and Bencomo hope that the new building will become a place that will inspire and uplift the future generation of Miners.   

Erik Acosta is the editor-in-chief and may be reached at [email protected].

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About the Contributor
Erik Acosta
Erik Acosta, Editor-in-Chief
Erik Acosta is the editor-in-chief for The Prospector. He is a senior majoring in multimedia journalism with a minor in theatre. He plans to pursue a career in broadcast journalism and print with hopes of working at LA times, Washington Post and ABC News.
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