Harold Stern, director of Ingram School of Engineering, said University Presidentis requesting a debt service from the legislature to construct a new building. He said the new engineering and science building would better accommodate the growing number of students in the school.
Stern said enrollment is increasing in the school because the demand for engineers in Central Texas is not being met.
Stern said Trauth recently announced the school would cap enrollment at 675 students because of space limitations. As of the 12th class day this fall, there were 599 engineering students in the school. Robert Habingreither, professor in the College of Science and Engineering, said while 675 is a good estimate of the number of students the program can hold, the term “cap” is being used too freely.
“A cap is something that says we will not let enrollment grow beyond (a point),” Habingreither said. “We have no cap. We are limited by our space.”
Stephen Seidman, dean of the College of Science and Engineering, said the construction of a new science and engineering building has been discussed for about eight months. The building would be constructed between Vista and West Woods Streets. The university-owned Campus Colony apartments currently occupy the space. The new building would consist of eight biology research labs and a structural engineering lab. Construction depends entirely on whether any revenue bonds are approved to finance the project, Seidman said.
The new building is needed to house an upcoming master’s program in engineering. As well, civil engineering and environmental technology programs are planned for the school, Habingreither said. There is currently no available space for the programs in the Ingram School of Engineering.
The College of Health Profession, which has seen an increase in enrollment, is looking to move all of its programs to the Round Rock campus. However, Stern said this option was never considered for the new science and engineering building.
“If the new engineering school was built in Round Rock, you would exhaust your students,” Stern said. “They would have to keep driving back and forth. The engineering program is tightly coordinated with mathematics and physics here at the (San Marcos) campus.”
Seidman said if enrollment in the Ingram School of Engineering began to increase too much, special SAT and math requirements would be enforced. Pre-engineering statuses for students could also be implemented.