Building 4 converted into centerpiece of ERP
who walk inside the front doors of Building 4 of the University
of Houston’s Energy Research Park are greeted by a slick, modern
interior, complete with freshly painted walls and a wide-open
The scene stands in stark contrast to what someone would expect
to find inside a brick facility built nearly six decades ago.
But after an extensive remodeling of the 30,000-square-foot
building – including gutting the interior – it stands ready to
become another stepping stone in UH’s vision of becoming a hub
of energy research and education, in which students and faculty
share space with private sector partners.
Sean York, UH Real Estate Services director, said the university
has spent much time and resources converting Building 4 into a
facility with unlimited potential for UH’s goal.
building was completely overhauled. All we kept was the shell,”
That work included replacing all the windows and the roof. There
are no longer any clues that the second floor once housed a
commissary to feed the masses of Schlumberger employees who once
worked there. Instead, the second floor remains a large open
shell, ready to be molded to fit the needs of whatever tenants
end up calling it home.
The building is expected to be the focal point of the ERP, with
its large classroom spaces and conference facilities.
It is one of 15 buildings comprising the ERP, which was
purchased by the university for $27 million in 2009. The 74-acre
complex was built in 1953 by Schlumberger, an oilfield services
company that had moved its company headquarters to Houston 13
years earlier. By 1993, the company had moved most of its
Houston operations to a new site in Sugar Land.
Building 4 already is home to a Cougar Xpress Mini Mart, which
opened on the ground floor in April. The first floor is also
serving as the temporary home to some staff members from the
Division of University Advancement until permanent space in
Building 1 at the ERP is ready for them.
building is not the first one in ERP to be overhauled. Prior to
UH purchasing the park, the Texas Diesel Testing and Research
Center in Building 14 was the first to be renovated. That was
followed by work on the Conoco Phillips Petroleum and
Engineering Building, which was opened in January 2011.
Earlier this fall, extensive renovations were completed on
buildings 14B and 15, which will house the Superconducting Pilot
Facility and Energy Device Fabrication Lab. They will become a
focal point for the research and commercialization efforts at
ERP and a catalyst for future manufacturing incubator activity
centered around energy device fabrication and manufacturing.
A complete remodeling was completed in August on Building 1 at
the front of the campus.