By Eric Althoff
TYLER, Texas—A recent groundbreaking ceremony was held for the 55,000-square-foot expansion to the Braithwaite College of Nursing and Health Sciences at the University of Texas at Tyler. Personnel from the UT Tyler School of Nursing joined professionals from Hoar Construction and Fitzpatrick Architects to turn over the token premiere shovelfuls of dirt on the construction work, which will effectively double the amount of medical education space at Braithwaite College.
Fitzpatrick’s design aesthetic for the expansion entails concrete columns to match other nearby campus buildings. Additionally, the entrance will feature an extensive glass facade, and an overarching canopy is meant to encourage the notion that learning takes place not only inside the building but as students leave and enter the world.
The first floor of the new building will be home to modern classrooms, student meeting areas, office space as well as practical learning spaces meant to simulate the experience of working in a real clinical environment.
The expansion at Braithwaite was necessary given that UT Tyler’s enrollment is at an all-time high, the university reports, thus requiring campus-wide additions over the next decade.
Hoar’s aims for its general contracting job at UT Tyler include a goal of 21.1 percent of its partners on the job coming from Texas’s Historically Underutilized Business (HUB) Program, which aims to promote minority- and women-owned businesses’ inclusion in such work around the Lone Star State. As recently as the groundbreaking, the general contractor said it was on target to exceed that figure.
“As we continue to grow our footprint across North Texas, we are proud to work alongside UT Tyler in delivering this state-of-the-art facility to campus, which will greatly enhance the academic offerings for the next generation of nursing students,” said Hoar’s senior project manager, Sean Cagle, who added that his firm has a vaunted history of higher education work around the country as well.
In a subsequent statement emailed to School Construction News, Cagle said that his firm’s many years of experience in the educational building sector allows them to easily vault over such issues as disruptions to student life and working within the agreed-upon budget.
“No project is immune from both logistical and procurement challenges in today’s market,” Cagle said. “When we uncover a new challenge, we are able to leverage our strong relationships with vendors and suppliers across the country to find alternative solutions to help our owners make critical decisions with enough time to eliminate those procurement challenges from impacting the delivery and success of the project.”
Hoar’s North Texas office is taking point on the nursing school expansion. The firm, which has been in business for over eight decades, has worked on various projects for Abilene Christian University, and has also been contracted to build out a new basketball arena at Texas A&M University-Commerce.