UT Sys­tem head­quar­ters de­layed

$102.4 mil­lion plan for 15-story build­ing down­town placed on back burner for now.

Austin American-Statesman - - B METRO & STATE - By Ralph K.M. Haurwitz rhau­r­witz@states­man.com UT B

In an abrupt and un­ex­pected move, Univer­sity of Texas Sys­tem ofl­cials have de­cided to “de­lay and re­think” a $102.4 mil­lion plan to build a new head­quar­ters for the sys­tem’s stafi in down­town Austin.

Board of Re­gents Chair­man Gene Pow­ell, in a memo to fel­low re­gents Thurs­day, said con­struc­tion projects at the sys­tem’s var­i­ous cam­puses “must take pri­or­ity over other in­ter­nally fo­cused cap­i­tal projects like the pro­posed new UT Sys­tem build­ing.”

When the Board of Re­gents voted unan­i­mously last month to put plans for a new head­quar­ters into mo­tion, ofl­cials said it would save $2 mil­lion to $5 mil­lion a year, per­haps more. Sys­tem em­ploy­ees cur­rently work out of a ffive­build­ing com­plex down­town that re­quires con­sid­er­able main­te­nance.

Con­sol­i­dat­ing into a new, 15-story build­ing at the north­west cor­ner of West Sev­enth and Colorado streets would in­crease efl­ciency and save on se­cu­rity and other costs, ofl­cials said.

Pow­ell’s memo seemed to hint at a po­lit­i­cal cal­cu­la­tion in the change of plans. He noted that a top leg­isla­tive pri­or­ity for the sys­tem is merg­ing UT-Brownsville and UT-Pan Amer­i­can into a new univer­sity in the Lower Rio Grande Val­ley that would also over­see a planned med­i­cal school.

“We could not have fore­seen the board’s his­toric de­ci­sion last week to seek leg­isla­tive author­ity for the cre­ation

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