Construction of the University of Texas San Antonio's $91 million School of Data Science and National Security Collaboration Center (SDS-NSCC) began in December 2020 and through steady progress, The Whiting-Turner Contracting Company is looking to deliver substantial completion this July.
The rectangular-shaped structure — six stories high, 167,000-sq. ft. — is the first of a series of new buildings that will be part of the USTA's downtown campus. It is located at 506 Dolorosa St. and will sit along San Pedro Creek east of IH-35, anchoring UTSA to San Antonio's prospering high-tech corridor and serving as a catalyst for economic and community investment in the San Pedro Creek area.
The project is crucial for the university's vision to earn national recognition as a research-intensive institution, which simultaneously bolsters San Antonio's national standing as Cyber City, USA.
"For more than 20 years, UTSA has been a pioneer in cybersecurity and also now offers best-in-class programs in data science, cyber manufacturing, cloud computing and artificial intelligence," said UTSA President Taylor Eighmy. "This new transdisciplinary building, which is deeply connected to the economic well-being of San Antonio and will house the first School of Data Science in Texas, will enable UTSA to prepare students for the high tech jobs of the future and to grow its ecosystem of government, industry and academic partners tackling society's grand security challenges."
The SDS has nearly 86,000 sq. ft. of classroom, laboratory and research space. In total, the school expects approximately 400 students pursuing degrees and research within the School of Data Science. When all research, experiential learning and collaboration spaces are in use -- along with the National Security Collaboration Center -- nearly 800 people will be in the building immersed in data science discovery, innovation and learning.
More than 30 faculty members will bring their expertise in artificial intelligence, machine learning, natural language processing, security policy and other areas to the data science community. Additionally, 16 UTSA research centers, institutes and college-level labs will also be part of the School of Data Science including the Matrix AI Consortium for Human Well-being and Open Cloud Institute.
The NSCC will have more than more than 81,000 sq. ft. for innovation, laboratories and research. Currently operating at the main campus, the center is a hub for government, university and industry partners in the cybersecurity field.
The Cybersecurity Manufacturing Innovation Institute will be co-located within the NSCC, as well as various collaborative efforts in forensics; visualization and analytics; network security, cyber training and workforce development; big data analytics and privacy; postquantum cryptography, cyber-physical systems and embedded security; cloud security; attack and threat modeling and mitigation; machine learning and artificial intelligence; and platform, software and hardware integrity.
Uniting data science, cybersecurity and cyber manufacturing under one roof in San Antonio's tech sector will elevate UTSA as an innovative leader in addressing national security challenges.
"There is no other place that has built an ecosystem combining the community's business strengths and research expertise in data science, information management and cybersecurity like our ecosystem here in San Antonio," said Eighmy.
Funding for the SDS–NSCC building is based on $75 million from The University of Texas System Permanent University Fund and a $15 million gift from San Antonio Business Leader Graham Weston.
"The UTSA School of Data Science will be at the heart of the thrust of new innovation over the coming decades," said Weston. "We can be a national leader in this field — one of the few schools that really separates itself from the pack. This is going to change the face of what UTSA is, and my prediction is UTSA is going to be famous around the country and the world in data science and cybersecurity.
The UT System board of regents approved the design development for the SDS–NSCC building in November 2020, which was prepared by Whiting-Turner | Jacobs | Overland .
The new building is located on a former parking lot that the UTSA had purchased from the city of San Antonio.
Over the next few years the UTSA plans to further expand its downtown campus footprint. This includes the construction of the Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Careers Building just west of the SDS–NSCC building at the site of the demolished Bexar County Jail, which is expected to be completed in 2025. CEG
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