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New Liberal Arts Building Opens

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Exterior View

Exterior view of the College of Liberal Arts Building, which opened January 2013.

A new home for Liberal Arts

The new 200,000-square-foot glass and limestone College of Liberal Arts Building opened just in time for the spring semester, giving more than 10,000 liberal arts students a new home for the first time in decades.

Collaborative Space

The fourth- and third-floor lounges feature floor-to-ceiling glass walls that define this open, collaborative space.

Of the $87 million in projected costs, donors contributed $20 million, the College of Liberal Arts paid $47 million, and the university covered the remainder.

No legislative or UT System funding was used in construction — a first in UT history. Additionally, pending final calculations, the project was completed below the initial expected cost of $100 million.

“This is the first time a college has funded its own building,” says Kathleen Aronson, Liberal Arts assistant dean for development, who notes that the project marks a number of firsts for the college and university. “We are the first college to take out a loan for a building and to identify college funds to finance the loan. It is a model for other colleges to follow.”

It’s similar to a homeowner taking out a 30-year mortgage, says Jamie Southerland, the college’s assistant dean for business affairs, who adds that the college could not afford to wait for state funding that is allocated to the university’s list of capital improvement projects.

Cutting actual building costs with a virtual model

To come in under budget, the college took advantage of low interest rates and construction costs. In addition, pre-planning saved hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Usually draftsmen and engineers pre-plan to avoid potential conflicts. The building’s general contractor, Spawglass, went even further, working with subcontractors and their foremen to first build the project in a computer simulation to avoid costly changes during the construction phase.

On top of that, Liberal Arts Instructional Technology Services installed all of the A/V cabling and classroom technology themselves to save on installation costs.

Another milestone: This is the first time since the 1930s that the College of Liberal Arts, which is composed of 24 academic departments, 24 centers, and 600-plus faculty members, will have a home of its own rather than being spread across 30 buildings.

Garden View

A garden view located near the classrooms on the building's bottom floor, known as zero floor.

MacDonald Briefing Room

The MacDonald Briefing Room, part of the James J. Mulva ROTC Center.

Ellen Clarke Temple East Garden

The exterior view of the Julius Glickman Conference Center, which overlooks the Ellen Clarke Temple East Garden and the Frances Brannen Vick West Garden.

Related links:

Updating building and funding models 
A new building for a new era

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