Ribbon cutting, time capsule burial planned to unveil new UHV building

The second floor of University North, the University of Houston-Victoria’s new academic and economic development building, will be on display during a Sept. 21 Victoria Chamber of Commerce ribbon cutting. UHV students will lead tours of the new building.

Area residents can get a firsthand look Sept. 21 at UHV’s new academic and economic development building and take part in a ceremony to bury a time capsule that won’t be opened until 2053.

The public is invited to attend a Victoria Chamber of Commerce ribbon-cutting ceremony for UHV University North and the burial of the university’s 40th-anniversary time capsule. The festivities will take place from 4 to 5 p.m. in front of the building at 3007 N. Ben Wilson St. UHV students will lead tours of the new building, and refreshments will be served. jaX, UHV’s jaguar mascot, will be on hand to greet guests.

Vic Morgan

“This beautiful new facility is a visible sign of the progress we’ve made in becoming a regional, comprehensive university,” UHV Interim President Vic Morgan said. “It will serve many purposes, including providing a venue for public events and the home base for our efforts to spearhead regional economic development. I’m thrilled we can celebrate the opening of this new building with our supporters and friends in the community.”

Construction started on the three-story, 63,000-square-foot building in November 2013. The total cost of the facility is about $16 million, including $8.5 million from the Texas Legislature.

University North is the new home of the UHV School of Business Administration, UHV Small Business Development Center, UHV Career Services and the new Regional Center for Economic Development.

The regional center’s goal is to partner with entities in Aransas, Bee, Calhoun, DeWitt, Goliad, Gonzales, Jackson, Karnes, Lavaca, Refugio and Victoria counties to create rural jobs, increase community awareness and involvement in regional economic development, and better prepare the region for economic stability during cyclical downturns. The center opened on Sept. 1.

Wayne Beran

“The Legislature initially allocated this money in 2006 for a regional economic development center,” said Wayne Beran, UHV vice president for administration and finance. “While some of the features and designs of the building have been altered over time, the chief purpose has always been to encourage cooperation among communities in the region to spur economic development.”

The academic component of the new building includes faculty offices, study spaces and a 60-seat tiered classroom. Classes already are underway in the new building.

Public events soon will take place in the building’s Multi-Purpose Room and the Kay and Ron Walker Auditorium. The new auditorium seats 200 people, providing ample room for many university functions. It will be home to the UHV/American Book Review Reading Series starting in the spring. The Multi-Purpose Room can hold up to 400 people, about twice as many as the UHV University Center Multi-Purpose Room.

University North also has a finance lab, digital gaming lab, the Donna and Roger Welder Executive Conference Room, the Cloyde and Ethel Lee Tracy Foundation Conference Room and the Dr. Josie Rivera Testing Room. The third floor of the building will be completed as soon as the UHV Facility & Space Planning Committee determines the best use for the space, and UHV receives its capital construction fund allocation granted during the last Legislative session. The committee will begin planning later this month and construction on the third floor should begin this spring.

The general contractor for the University North project was Drymalla Construction Co. of Columbus. Perkins+Will of Houston was the architect, and Rawley McCoy & Associates of Victoria was the associate architect. Urban Engineering of Victoria was the civil engineer.

Morgan and a representative from the Victoria Chamber of Commerce will make a few remarks, and then the time capsule will be buried just to the right of the front entrance to the building. UH System regents Roger Welder and Paula Mendoza also will be in attendance.

The capsule contains items collected during 2013, the university’s 40th anniversary. It will be opened during UHV’s 80th anniversary. Monuments of Victoria, owned by Joe Lee Evans and Mark and Kim Phillips, all of Victoria, has donated a marker that will be placed on top of where the time capsule is buried.

“I’d like to thank Mr. Evans and Mr. and Mrs. Phillips for their generous donation,” Morgan said. “I’m sure the marker will get people excited about opening the time capsule in 2053.”

The capsule is about 16 inches tall and 16 inches in diameter. Among the items that will be placed in the capsule are a 40th anniversary outdoor banner, T-shirts, a graduation stole, a jaX the jaguar stuffed animal, 2013 editions of Huizache and symploke, athletic game day programs, a signed nursing pinning ceremony program, a 2013 School of Business Administration Alumni Week recognition award, a 40th anniversary magazine that was inserted in the Victoria Advocate, various university event posters created in 2013 and a 2012-2013 President’s Annual Report & Excellence Awards Yearbook signed by event attendees.

The time capsule initially was unveiled in 2013 at the University North groundbreaking ceremony. Some of the items that will be placed in the capsule were donated by area residents.

For more information about the ribbon cutting, call UHV Special Events Coordinator Nancy Gresham at 361-570-4351.

The University of Houston-Victoria, located in the heart of the Coastal Bend region since 1973 in Victoria, Texas, offers courses leading to more than 80 academic programs in the schools of Arts & Sciences; Business Administration; and Education, Health Professions & Human Development. UHV provides face-to-face classes at its Victoria campus, as well as an instructional site in Katy, Texas, and online classes that students can take from anywhere. UHV supports the American Association of State Colleges and Universities Opportunities for All initiative to increase awareness about state colleges and universities and the important role they have in providing a high-quality and accessible education to an increasingly diverse student population, as well as contributing to regional and state economic development.

Jeremy Shapiro