UTSA this afternoon is announcing plans for a major expansion of its downtown campus, including two major classroom buildings, dormitories and other amenities, News Radio 1200 WOAI reports.
The growth will involve the creation of two major units, the National Security Collaboration Center and the School of Data Science.
David Heard, who heads TechBloc, the agency representing the city's tech industry, says this is not only good news for downtown, where many tech firms are located, but it is great for 'creating the vibe' that employers need to attract top quality workers.
"Frequenting the coffee shops, the pizza parlors, and really helping fill out that 'live work play' urban tech neighborhood," Heard said.
UTSA has received a $70 million commitment from the U.T. System Board of Regents for the expansion, which is a major priority of new UTSA President. Dr. Taylor Eighmy.
Tech firms frequently say their biggest barrier to growth is an inability to attract the skilled workers they need. They are working through local training programs like Cast Tech, but Heard says having a large, vibrant college campus nearby, especially one that will be focusing on tech-related jobs, will be a huge boost to that recruitment effort.
"That can really enliven the scene, and add tremendous energy to that growing tech hub that we are all working hard to build downtown," he said.
The goal is to expand the UTSA downtown campus to 15,000 students, and that will spark the development of satellite businesses around the area to serve the students, as well as major growth on the west edge of downtown as more people want to live near university amenities.