UTSA breaks ground on $90M downtown center

Updated: Apr 24

Brandon Lingle Jan. 25, 2021 Updated: Jan. 25, 2021 8:36 p.m

The University of Texas at San Antonio launched construction of its downtown School of Data Science and National Security Collaboration Center — a $90 million, 167,000-square-foot facility — with a virtual groundbreaking Monday.

The interdisciplinary building at 506 Dolorosa St., along San Pedro Creek, will “have a tremendous impact on our community, our business economy around data science and cybersecurity (and) on workforce development,” said UTSA President Taylor Eighmy. “There’s nothing like bricks and mortar to kick this all off, so I’m deeply, deeply excited.”

The building is slated for completion in July 2022.

The six-story facility will feature classrooms, laboratories, research and innovation space, a café and a public event venue. An expansion of UTSA’s inner-city campus, it could draw up to 6,500 additional students downtown.

The location will allow easier collaboration with downtown businesses, government offices and other organizations.

“At the center of this project is jobs — great jobs,” San Antonio tech entrepreneur Graham Weston. “The people who will be graduating from this school of data science will be qualified to take some of the best paying, most highly sought after jobs in the country.

“And if we produce a few graduates, those graduates will find jobs anywhere in the country,” he said. “If we produce a lot of graduates, companies will want to come here to hire.”

The vision for the center started two years ago, after Weston and others approached Eighmy about selling the university’s downtown campus to another university.

“We felt that the downtown campus had been an orphan for a long time, and that we felt that it’s such an important institution that we wanted to have a university come in and really embrace having a downtown campus,” Weston said.

Eighmy nixed the idea and came back with a proposal for a greater downtown presence for the university.