CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas – Golden shovels sparkled in the sun as the Island University broke ground on phase one of the new Life Sciences Research and Engineering Building. Elected officials, community and campus leaders attended the Sept. 6 groundbreaking ceremony. The new building will be strategically placed next to the Early Childhood Development Center, in the Starfish Parking lot, and serve as one of the premier buildings that will be seen upon entering campus.
“This building will become the newest location for cutting-edge research and scholarly activity on the island,” said Dr. Flavius Killebrew, President and CEO of Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. “The timing of this project could not be better as we have already broken records this semester with the size of our incoming freshman class.”
With an increase in STEM student enrollment, the Island University is continually looking for ways to expand and better serve its student population. The new 3-story building will support two of the Island Universities fastest growing programs, life sciences and engineering. Students, faculty and staff can look forward to six new instructional labs, 34 research labs, as well as much needed faculty office space.
The new office space will allow the University to re-purpose the existing space life sciences faculty are currently inhabiting within the Engineering building for engineering programs. With these changes, the Island University will be able expand its electrical and mechanical engineering degrees to encompass the entire Engineering building.
“This is a very exciting time at the University, I can’t emphasize enough what wonderful opportunities this will bring for students who will be able to get more involved with research,” said Dr. Charles Proffitt, Professor and Chair of the Department of Life Sciences. “With our new labs, students will get to work alongside faculty, senior graduate students and experience various techniques that will help them become employable in the job of their choice.”
With the addition of the new building, the College of Science and Engineering can continue to offer its in-demand classes and continue to provide students with many research opportunities. A&M-Corpus Christi hopes that this addition will ensure that the University continues to attract the best and the brightest students to its campus.
“Being able to have a building devoted strictly to Life Sciences is going to be amazing,” said Madeleine Wolters, a senior Biomedical Sciences major. “There have been so many changes since I first came to University in 2012, but I’m excited to see what this new building will offer students, I know things will be a lot easier not having to worry about the overcrowding of labs. I definitely plan to come back and visit when it’s all finished.”
Approval for the new building came from the Texas A&M University System Board of Regents in September 2015, and with it, the Island University was appropriated $60,000,000 for construction of the building. The new addition is expected to solidify the University position as an emerging research university. Completion of the project is anticipated for July 2018.