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UTSA downtown campus expansion to attract cyber security students, workforce

SAN ANTONIO – UTSA officials hope the campus' downtown expansion project will position San Antonio as a leader in cyber research and workforce development. 

Bernard Arulanandam, interim vice president for research, economic development and knowledge enterprise at UTSA, said the departments have been developing drastically. 

"We started our programs in the late 1990s and really have infused cybersecurity across four colleges primarily: engineering, sciences, business, college of liberal and fine arts," Arulanandam said. 

A new look for UTSA's downtown campus is in the works. The School of Data Science and the National Security Collaboration Center will move downtown alongside other departments. The schools are estimated to cost millions of dollars. 

"It's essentially going to co-localize all of our faculty that works in this particular areas in aspects of engineering, aspects of analytics, artificial intelligence, cloud computing, bringing them all together to create this density of environment that will tie into the tech corridor of downtown," Arulanandam said. 

Arulanandam hopes the expansion project will create jobs. 

A 2017 Center for Cyber Safety and Education report projects a global cybersecurity workforce shortage of 1.8 million by 2022. 

Currently, the National Security Collaboration Center has 36 partners, including CNF Technologies. Roxanne Ramirez, CNF Technologies CEO and owner, believes the expansion project will attract students to local businesses. 

"It's going to help UTSA (to) be able to place those students that graduate, find jobs for them and maybe not go to Dallas, go to Austin and stay here, which also helps the San Antonio economy. It's a win-win for everybody," Ramirez said. 

UTSA officials said the estimated costs for the NSCC and SDS is $90 million and the departments are expected to open during the 2021-2022 academic year. Seventy-million dollars will come from the permanent university fund allocation that the UT System Board of Regents approved in the fall. San Antonio business leader Graham Weston's $15 million gifts and an additional $5 million in university funds will fully advance the project. 

"The new center is part of our larger research initiative to essentially grow our ecosystem and partnership, so the center will essentially work closely with me and the provost and the president and really move the needle in terms of a magnet to attract students in cybersecurity. But also, then, propel them into the workforce and then wanted in the space," Arulanandam said. 

UTSA officials said the UT System Office of Facilities Planning and Construction and UTSA Office of Facilities are jointly managing the project. 

Jacobs, a national architecture and engineering firm, in partnership with Overland Partners of San Antonio, has been selected to lead the design of the building. 

UTSA student enrollment

Fall 2018: 

Students who only take classes at main campus: 27,952
Students who only take classes at downtown campus: 2,167
Students who take classes at the main and downtown campuses: 1,982
Total enrollment: 32,101

Fall 2017: 

Students who only take classes at main campus: 26,667
Students who only take classes at downtown campus: 2,032
Students who take classes at main, downtown campuses: 1,975
Total enrollment: 30,674

Fall 2016: 

Students who only take classes at main campus: 24,996
Students who only take classes at downtown campus: 1,837
Students who take classes at main, downtown campuses: 2,126
Total enrollment: 28,959

Fall 2015: 

Students who only take classes at main campus: 24,185
Students who only take classes at downtown campus: 1,957
Students who take classes at main, downtown campuses: 2,645
Total enrollment: 28,787

Fall 2014:

Students who only take classes at main campus: 23,231
Students who only take classes at downtown campus: 2,151
Students who take classes at main, downtown campuses: 3,246
Total enrollment: 28,628


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