As the addition of the University Center on the Texas Tech Health Sciences Center campus was completed, the local community took part in a celebration to honor past achievements and consider future opportunities.
People responsible for the construction, public art and establishment of the HSC University Center celebrated their efforts in the center’s completion during a ribbon-cutting ceremony at 1:30 p.m. on May 24 in the UC on the HSC campus.
Tech System Chancellor and President of the HSC Tedd L. Mitchell said this ceremony is an exciting moment for the System.
“The building that we’re standing in today represents a sea change, a landscape change for our entire university,” he said. “Historically, in the university on the Texas Tech Health Sciences Center side, all of the entry ways have been side entrances. We’ve not have had a main entrance.”
The design of the UC, which is the first building design at the HSC that is similar to the Spanish architecture on the Tech campus, is an aspect Mitchell said will make the UC the focal point of the HSC. He said all visitors and prospective students and prospective faculty members will first enter the UC and get a feel of what the HSC is like.
In addition to these features, Tech System Facilities Planning and Construction Vice Chancellor Billy Breedlove said the design of the facility started in April 2016 andthe construction started in March 2017.
“It will provide a welcome center, admission offices, state-of-the-art simulation center, writing labs, classrooms, executive offices, support spaces, new technology and equipment,” Breedlove said regarding the 62,258 gross square feet UC.
In addition to the facilities, Breedlove said about 219,000 man-hours, which consisted of working almost every day and working around bad weather, went into the construction of the UC.
“The people that did it did a great job,” he said. “We thank those guys.”
Along with the services and institutional features of the UC, one can also expect to see new public art pieces.
Adam Frank, artist of PULSE, which is a digital-representation of the human circulatory system, and James Surls, artist of Complete Fragment, which is an exterior sculpture depicting growth though the representation of flowers and molecules, both discussed their piece during the ceremony.
As people visit the completed UC, Frank said PULSE, which is placed inside the UC near the front entrance, will depict a beating heart that has a rate similar to the rate of people entering the building.
Along with the interior piece, Surls said Complete Fragment is meant to depict how many parts come together to become a whole.
“We’re made up of a sea of fragments,” Surls said regarding the System. “Each person becomes a fragment in of themselves and collectively then makes a whole.”
Regardless of the new facilities and the art pieces, the UC is a structure that could impact the HSC in a variety of ways.
Along with the celebration of the UC’s completion, Mitchell said the HSC will celebrate its 50th anniversary this year.
“What’s interesting is when you stand in a facility like this today, and you look at everything that goes on around here and the busyness of everything,” Mitchell said, “it’s easy to forget the fact that it wasn’t that long ago that there were people saying it would never succeed.”
On May 27, 1969, Mitchell said former Texas Gov. Preston Smith signed into law the establishment of the HSC.
“It’s important to think about what we’ve done in this period of time,” he said. “This building represents a step forward for us for the next half century.”