Smack in the midst of a bustling international city, the University of Houston's campus is a lush, green oasis. Fountains and sculptures adorn the grounds, while manicured lawns and tree-filled parks offer breathing room.
At the same time, the campus offers all the amenities and high-tech facilities required by modern university life; in the past few years, UH has made more than $220 million in campus improvements.
Our world-class facilities include high-tech laboratories, modern classrooms and nationally renowned centers such as the Moores School of Music, the Athletics/Alumni Center and the LeRoy and Lucille Melcher Center for Public Broadcasting, which houses KUHT HoustonPBS, the nation's first educational television station; KUHF (88.7 FM), Houston's NPR station; the Center for Public Policy Polling; and television studio labs.
In February 2004, we completed funding for the $49 million expansion and renovation of the M.D. Anderson Library and The Honors College. The library's new wing allows current collections to increase from 1.6 million volumes to 2.4 million volumes. It also includes a 24-hour study area, more than 140 networked workstations accessing about 180 electronic databases.
Our 264,000-square-foot Campus Recreation and Wellness Center offers three gyms, a variety of fitness equipment, a 53-foot-high climbing wall, racquetball and squash courts, a 70-meter indoor competition pool with diving facilities, a dry sauna and hot tub, an outdoor leisure pool with hot tub, a sand volleyball court, showers and dressing areas with lockers, and more. The center is recognized by the National Intramural-Sports Association as one of the most outstanding sports centers in the nation.
The 191,730-square-foot Science and Engineering Research and Classroom Complex promises unprecedented interdisciplinary cooperation within the sciences in cutting-edge facilities for research and teaching. The three-building complex includes a five-story research building, a two-story classroom building and a two-story auditorium. This new facility — designed by internationally renowned architect Cesar Pelli — addresses the evolution and future direction of collaborative research and will facilitate cross-disciplinary interaction among UH scientists and engineers, the Texas Medical Center, and other universities and research centers. The $81 million complex is the only academic facility of its kind in Houston. More plans are being made for a DNA Sequencing Lab, a nuclear magnetic resonance device for synthetic chemistry facilities and air-handling system in the clean room that will give scientists the completely sanitary environment necessary to work on bionanotechnology.
The Cynthia Woods Mitchell Center for the Arts at the University of Houston hosts world-class artists, writers, performers and scholars. We teach and inspire the next generation of creative visionaries through collaborative academic courses along with innovative public performances, exhibitions and informative lectures. Funded by a $20 million grant from George and Cynthia Woods Mitchell, the center — housed in the School of Theatre and Dance — is an alliance among the five arts units within our College of Liberal Arts and Social Sciences — the School of Art, the Creative Writing Program, the Moores School of Music, the School of Theatre and Dance and Blaffer Art Museum at the University of Houston. Along with classes, educational outreach programs, exhibitions and public performances, the center offers residencies to emerging artists, writers and curators to expand their work through postgraduate studies in the arts.
We've also completed a $6 million classroom enhancement project in 40 locations across campus including Melcher Hall, Agnes Arnold Hall, the Cullen College of Engineering, the Graduate College of Social Work and Farish Hall. Classrooms received new colorful and contemporary interior designs as well as audio, visual and mechanical upgrades.
As classrooms improved, campus parking increased by more than 800 spaces. New spaces have been added near the UH Law Center and across from the Campus Recreation and Wellness Center. A new 300-space lot was added on the south side of TDECU Stadium. Our new Welcome Center and parking garage offers convenient parking and easy access to student services including admissions and financial aid service centers, a visitor's center and the University Eye Institute.
The Burdette Keeland Jr. Design Exploration Center at the Gerald D. Hines College of Architecture rose from the skeleton of the World War II-era Band Annex, the last of its kind on campus, and provides a large, open space for student architects to test prototypes, gauge environmental effects on materials and build full-scale models. In addition to being a recycled and repurposed structure, this features Houston’s only the only sloped green roof in Houston. Green roofs such as this one offer an environmentally friendly alternative to traditional roofs.
Our off-campus teaching centers — UH System at Cinco Ranch, UH Sugar Land, UH Northwest and UH-Clear Lake Pearland — bring educational opportunities to students in outlying parts of the Houston area and offer credit and continuing education programs to meet almost any need. We have the highest distance education enrollment and the most upper-division resident courses and degree programs in Texas. Also, our instructional television and online programs provide degree opportunities for students at home, at work or in their neighborhoods. (www.uh.edu/distance)
Finally, we commissioned the development of a Master Plan to serve as our blueprint for growth for the next 20 years. The plan includes five distinct areas: Art District, Professional District, Undergraduate District, Core Academic District and Stadium District. By 2020, UH will be a more pedestrian-focused campus. We will have more housing, improved academic buildings, and new "lifestyle" features such as stores, restaurants and gathering areas.