UTSA reaches $90M goal to build new School of Data Science

School will be first of its kind in state

By Mariah Medina - Digital Journalist

SAN ANTONIO - The University of Texas at San Antonio on Tuesday announced a donation of $15 million and parcels of land downtown for the construction of a new School of Data Science and National Security Collaboration Center.

Local business leader Graham Weston pledged $15 million to the university for the school, which will focus on "big data and analytics, advancing economic development in the urban core and creating prosperity for San Antonio," according to a statement issued by the university.

The school will be the first of its kind in the state.

Earlier this month, the University of Texas System Board of Regents approved a $70 million fund for the construction of the one-of-a-kind school. Weston's $15 million gift and $5 million in university funds have brought the university to its goal, $90 million, needed to advance the two projects.

Mayor Ron Nirenberg said he looks forward to the variety of resources the city will realize with the creation of the new school.

The university is currently engaged in discussions with the city and county to secure parcels of land valued at $13 million. The parcels will be the sites of the new school, a national security collaboration center and the relocation of UTSA's College of Business.

The first parcel of land UTSA will build its new school on is a 2.5 acre plot at South San Saba and Dolorosa streets. The other piece of land is one acre on Dolorosa Street near South Flores Street.

Negotiations are pending approval from the city's planning commission and San Antonio's City Council.

University leaders are in talks with the county on a third parcel of land located at Dolorosa Street that will serve as the university's new College of Business. The university said it intends to seek $126 million in tuition revenue bonds from the Texas Legislature to fund that endeavor.

The transfer of that parcel from the county to the university would need to be approved by the County Commissioners Court.

University and city officials are also exploring the possibility of an agreement with the former Continental Hotel on West Commerce Street.

According to city manager Sheryl Sculley, officials are looking into using the hotel property to house faculty, staff and graduate students in the future. 

The partnership would include renovating the hotel and constructing a new building on the hotel's former parking lot.

The university will begin site planning and design for the proposed school of Data Science and National Cybersecurity Collaboration Center immediately and will break ground on the school next fall.

UTSA officials expect the construction of the School of Data Science to be completed by fall 2021.

Copyright 2018 by KSAT - All rights reserved.