As we near the end of the fall 2009 semester, the University of Houston campus — both literally and figuratively — is a changed place. The intangibles can’t be seen or touched, but they are real nevertheless. Foremost, there is a campuswide feeling of celebration stemming from the twin legislative successes related to our drive to attain Tier-One status.
The tangible changes are seen all across campus. The East Parking Garage that popped up seemingly overnight during the summer opened for business in September. Work is well under way on phase one of the undergraduate residential housing on Wheeler, scheduled to open next summer. And Cemo Hall, the second building for the Bauer College of Business, soon will be finished.
The ribbon-cutting ceremony to symbolically open Calhoun Lofts, UH’s premier housing development for mostly graduate and professional students, was held in August. Several hundred students are already living there.
The complexity and speed of campus construction during the past few years, especially during the past few months, is nothing short of remarkable. Let me share some facts with you.
Prior to 2000, the total square footage of our buildings was under 6.1 million. Since that date, we have increased our usable space for classrooms, labs and study halls by almost 30 percent, making this decade the most significant in terms of construction in UH history — doubling any previous decade.
Since 2000, we also have renovated more than 919,000 square feet, or more than 15 percent of the entire campus, and we have more than 541,000 square feet of existing space scheduled to be renovated in the next two to three years. Including Calhoun Lofts, we now have housing for 5,208 students. By the time phase one of the undergraduate housing facility on Wheeler is completed, the total students in residential housing will climb to 6,294. Phase two, to be built adjacent to the phase one facility, will bring the grand total to 7,294.
Then, our goal of housing 25 percent of our students on campus and in affiliated housing — approximately 10,000 students — will be closer to reality, transforming the University of Houston into a new kind of urban residential campus commensurate with our soon-to-be Tier-One status.
As the campus changes all around us, and as we celebrate a spectacular 2009 in terms of enrollment, research grants and awards and fundraising, I can repeat with great conviction the new UH slogan launched on the first week of the fall semester — “You are the Pride!”
UH System Chancellor and UH President