A Look Inside UAB’s New Expansions

The University of Alabama at Birmingham is a fairly young institution, but my how it has grown during its 50 years. Today, the university has nearly 22,000 students, and its buildings spread over more than 100 city blocks in Birmingham, helping to transform the city it calls home.

Some of those new buildings are on the cusp of opening, while others are in the planning stages. Here is a look at the latest facilities and the plans for more.

University Hall, the new College of Arts and Sciences building, will celebrate its grand opening on August 22. Located at the corner of 14th Street South and 10th Avenue, University Hall will house the departments of anthropology, computer science, English, foreign languages and literatures, mathematics, philosophy and social work. Every undergraduate student takes core classes within the College of Arts and Sciences, so the new building will touch each freshman who enters the university. University Hall is also the first Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED)-certified building on campus.

The new 12,800-square-foot, $3 million ROTC training facility opens formally this fall, though it has been in use since April. Located on Eighth Court South, the facility has three classrooms, nine offices, an auditorium, storm shelter, a cadet lounge/library, women’s and men’s locker rooms, a gym and an engagement skills trainer room for simulated combat.

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The former Snoozy’s Bookstore is being made over into UAB’s Honors College, providing additional space for honors students who currently use Spencer Honors House. The renovation, which was approved by the University of Alabama System Board of Trustees in June, will cost $2.69 million and will comprise the entire two-story, 11,000-square-foot structure. The exterior grounds will be leveled and developed into a landscaped courtyard. The renovation will begin in August and is scheduled to be complete in May 2020.

UAB’s newest student housing development, Residence Hall 2020, is currently under construction near the Campus Green and will allow for more than 730 students to join the 2,880 that already live in UAB’s six other residence halls. This project will be the second LEED-certified building on campus when it is completed in fall 2020.

The Board of Trustees has approved the final stage of planning for the new $19.2 million Technology Innovation Center, which will be built at 17th Street South and Ninth Avenue. The 40,000-square-foot building will house the campus internet connectivity and technology infrastructure and also host colocation services to campus, offering power, bandwidth, cooling and physical security for servers used throughout the university. This new building replaces the Rust Computer Center and will host the fastest high-performance research computer in the state and the data highway that connects researchers throughout the University of Alabama System. It will also house an innovative and cost-effective Tesla Powerpack battery system that increases system reliability while reducing the carbon footprint. The groundbreaking on TIC was August 14.

In February, the Board of Trustees gave approval for planning the first phase of the new Science and Engineering Complex, which will house the College of Arts and Sciences departments of biology, physics and chemistry. This new complex, which is proposed for the Education Building’s current location, will support the instructional, research and collaborative needs of these programs.

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