Construction company awarded contract for new on-campus STEM building

Swedish-based company Skanska was awarded a $100 million on Nov. 13, 2023 to construct a new Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) building starting June 2024. In addition to subject-specific learning, STEM aims to foster inquiring minds, logical reasoning, and collaboration skills. The goal of STEM programs is to increase the supply of qualified high-tech workers in the United States, bolster innovation, improve the country’s competitive position globally, and strengthen economic growth.

STEM gained importance in the early 2000s following the publication of several reports. The new building, which will house the mathematics and computer science departments, will be located on the west side of the San Marcos campus, west of Bruce and Gloria Ingram Hall and southwest of the Supple Science Building. The new building will be an eight-story, 155,900 square-foot structure that will provide teaching space, class labs, departmental offices, and research labs for several other academic disciplines.

With the increase in record-breaking student population in recent years, the math and computer science departments have seen an increased need in class spaces and faculty offices, shortcomings the new building will address. The university has a program for buildings this large to make sure that it is going to accommodate everyone. The university wants to build to the program.

STEM in higher education teaches students to think critically, prepares them for careers and creates professionals that can work across scientific disciplines to solve challenging problems.

The university’s 2025-35 Master Plan, which is still in development and will serve as a framework for future projects on campus, will decide what will happen to Derrick Hall and the Math and Computer Science Building. Texas State introduced its Master Plan project at an open house on October 26. The Master Plan is a document outlining potential improvements and developments to the university’s campus within the next ten years.

Students at the open house provided feedback on what they liked and disliked about the campus. Texas State has contracted a team from Page Southerland, an architecture and engineering firm, to make the document. In the discovery phase, the team gathers data from students, faculty, and staff to determine what the campus does well and what can be improved upon.

Page Southerland is trying to collect as much feedback as it can to understand what those challenges are that students face. The importance of the smaller improvements contribute to the whole of the project. After researching the conditions of the campus, the Page Southerland team will then come up with potential improvements to the campus and bring them forth in a guide, the Master Plan, Texas State can then act upon that plan.

The Page Southerland team began work in August, and will continue roughly through December 2024.

Texas State students and their experiences on the San Marcos and Round Rock campuses are key in the Master Plan. The Master Plan will research issues Texas State students and faculty feel are important, like parking, accessibility and infrastructure. The university will definitely be looking at the demolition of part of Derrick, the part that is in The Quad.

Derrick Hall currently houses the Department of Aerospace Studies and the Center for International Studies, as well as many of the math and computer science classrooms. The new classrooms and labs will not only help improve the STEM program, but also other spaces in the building that could be used for academic services like tutoring. The new building is a really great idea, to be able to expand the university’s resources and learning spaces for students is very important.

The new building is still in the early design stages. Designs should be released in the coming months, but the university must first get the design and plan approved by the Texas State University Systems (TSUS) office. The university is expected to go to the TSUS office in February 2024, so that would be a good time to see exactly what the university is planning.

The current plan is for the building to begin construction in June 2024 and open in fall 2026.