Ribbon cut for new Texas Tech academic building

Texas Tech University Health Sciences Center marked the completion of its new Academic Classroom Building with a ribbon-cutting ceremony Thursday.
Located at 801 W. Fourth St., the 51,000-square-foot, two-story building houses classrooms, research laboratories, lecture halls, administrative offices, conference areas and additional support space.
The building’s $22.3 million budget included more than $14.25 million in tuition revenue bonds authorized by the 84th Texas Legislature. More than $5.54 million came from institutional funds while approximately $2.5 million came from private donors’ support.
Texas Tech University System Chancellor and TTUHSC President Dr. Tedd L. Mitchell said in a news release that the building will bring additional opportunities for education and research initiatives plus create a more seamless campus experience for students.
“This new Academic Classroom Building reflects our mission, vision and highest aspirations for the future of our university,” Mitchell said. “We are excited by the wide-ranging opportunities where new models of teaching, learning and research can flourish. This growth demonstrates the ways in which a university can make a big difference in the communities it serves.”
The Academic Classroom Building will allow the Permian Basin campus to expand its enrollment numbers, provide all students with a state-of-the-art academic setting and enhance the TTUHSC presence in the region, the release said.
During the event, Mitchell said having entities like the new academic building present offers a stabilizing baseline to the economy.
Mitchell said Texas’ population is approaching 29 million, making it the second most populous in the country.
“Only 13 percent of that population lives west of I-35, but it’s that 13 percent that takes care of the breadbasket for the entire state,” Mitchell said. “So Texas has the strongest economy in the United States and our economy is driven by two things — agriculture and energy, both of which are centered right out here in West Texas.”
He said one of the things they like to do when they visit Austin is to remind state officials of how important it is to take care of the people of West Texas, who take care of everybody in the state.
“We may have 13 percent of the population, but we provide this state its means of living for everybody, and to a large extent, if you look at the Permian Basin it’s not energy for Texas; it’s not energy for this region; it’s not energy for this nation, but it’s energy for the world,” he said. “Taking care of those folks is a critical part of what we do and projects like this allow that to happen.”
Along with its square footage, the building used 5,000 tons of concrete, more than 50,000 bricks and more than 4,500 square feet of glass, Mitchell said.
“This is a showcase. We completed this project in 500 days. Zero days were taken off for weather. …,” he added.
Rick Napper, president and CEO of Medical Center Hospital, said the new academic building is “absolutely one of the most beautiful facilities that you will ever see.”
He cited the 50-year relationship between the hospital and Texas Tech.
“That impact that occurs here is that every student medical student and every resident that has the ability, or will have the ability, to utilize this facility is actually an economic engine for the state of Texas,” Napper said. “Every physician that relocates into any location adds an average of 50 to 100 jobs to that community …”
“This building doesn’t just represent bricks and mortar,” Napper added. “This building will come to life as soon as people occupy it — whether it’s the students, or the faculty, or whether it is just those of us in the community that get to use it. …”