UHV to construct classrooms, offices on University North third floor

University of Houston-Victoria leaders have finalized plans for the third floor of University North and will create a one-stop shop for prospective and current students in UHV University West.

While the first two floors of University North opened in August, the third floor was left unfinished. The UHV Facility & Space Planning Committee has been meeting to determine the best use for the space.

The 20,355-square-foot third floor will house UHV Finance, Business Services, Human Resources, Small Business Development Center, two 50-seat classrooms and eight faculty offices. Also relocating to the floor are budget and capital projects staff, and the Help Desk. The Bursar’s Office will remain in University West.

Wayne Beran

Wayne Beran, UHV vice president for administration and finance, said the committee first identified the need for two large classrooms and eight faculty offices. Next, members discussed what made the most sense to occupy the rest of the space.

“We really liked the idea of having a one-stop shop for students and their families on the first floor of University West, but to do that we needed to free up some space,” Beran said. “The idea is for a student and their parents to walk into University West and be able to visit all the offices they need to get enrolled at the university, so having all Student Affairs staff in one place made a lot of sense.”

The UH Board of Regents recently authorized Chancellor Renu Khator to negotiate contracts up to $6 million to finish the third floor of University North and make renovations in the University West and University Center buildings. UHV is using capital construction bonds appropriated by the Texas Legislature during the 2015 session. These bonds, formally called Tuition Revenue Bonds, are state-backed debt to finance capital projects.

The third-floor build-out is estimated to cost about $4 million, said Brenda Svetlik, UHV capital projects director. The remaining $2 million will be spent on renovations.

Brenda Svetlik

“These renovations will give us more room to operate as the university continues to expand,” Svetlik said. “We see this as a way to solve some of our space issues until a Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics building is completed in a few years.”

The plan also adds faculty offices elsewhere, plus additional space for other departments. Moving the Small Business Development Center from the first and second floors to the third floor of University North will open up five additional offices for School of Business Administration faculty members on the second floor. In addition, the current capital projects suite on the second floor of University West will be converted to four faculty offices.

Moving the Help Desk to University North also will free up more space for Technology Services on the second floor of the University Center. Likewise, the relocation of two faculty offices will provide more room for Marketing & Communications and University Advancement on the third floor of the University Center.

Svetlik expects to have an architect in place by the end of March. After the design plans are completed, UHV will seek bids for a contractor. Construction could be completed by the end of 2016, Svetlik said.

Work on the third floor should not interfere with classes and events on the first two floors, although there will be times though when it’s louder than usual, Svetlik said.

“We’re hoping a lot of the construction work can be completed during the summer when there is less traffic in the building,” she said.

University North is home to the UHV School of Business Administration, SBDC, Career Services, Disability Services and the new Regional Center for Economic Development. Public events take place in the building’s Multi-Purpose Room, the Kay and Ron Walker Auditorium, and the Donna and Roger Welder Executive Conference Room.

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