Texas continues to be seen as the place to grow a business and has the data to prove it: last year alone, the state was recognized as the leading destination for companies relocating from other states according to the Texas Economic Development Office. Unsurprisingly, Texas is seeing an increasing appetite for talented professionals and research capabilities as these businesses look to the future.
This is one of many reasons that The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA) recently unveiled San Pedro I, a world-class facility that will usher in a new era of high-tech education, research and innovation in Texas. Located in the heart of downtown San Antonio, the $91.8 million facility will house UTSA’s new School of Data Science and its National Security Collaboration Center, advancing economic development in the urban core and creating prosperity for San Antonians as well as for current and future Texans.
San Pedro I is the first project in UTSA’s phased, 10-year approach to accelerating the development of its Downtown Campus as a destination for producing highly skilled professionals in data science, data analytics and national security. The expanded capacity the facility provides will further position UTSA, a Hispanic Serving, Tier One research university, to serve Texas’ growing population and support the state’s future development.
The 167,000-square-foot facility includes 84,000 square feet of flexible classroom, laboratory and research space that is organized in four neighborhoods encouraging collaboration between data science students and faculty members and related science and engineering career fields. Four suites and 10 offices are built into the facility for companies that want to co-locate in the building.
The UTSA School of Data Science will be the only school of data science in the U.S. at a Hispanic Serving Institution, enabling the university to diversify the nation’s current generation of data science professionals, a group that will shape the emerging data science industry in the coming decades.
According to Forbes and other studies, less than 10% of data science professionals are people of color and only 3% are women of color. By comparison, 56% of UTSA’s master’s students are women and 64% of master’s students are people of color.
The new school will provide data-intensive academic and research programs to inspire and prepare a generation of diverse data scientists who can make the world more equitable, informed and secure. It will offer five best-in-class master’s degree programs—artificial intelligence, computer science (with a data concentration), data analytics, statistics and data science, and applied statistics—in addition to a bachelor’s program in data science and a bachelor’s program in artificial intelligence. The new school will also host several bootcamps, certificates, seminars and workshops to help emerging and advanced professionals expand their technology skills and grow in their careers.
“We intentionally developed San Pedro I to sit in the heart of downtown San Antonio where it will attract unique government-university-industry strategic partnerships in the fields of data science, cybersecurity and national security. Moreover, this is at the heart of our focus on advancing workforce and economic development here in San Antonio while developing new knowledge for these essential industries. This is a big day for UTSA, our region and our state.”
— UTSA President, Taylor Eighmy
On the local level, San Pedro I’s downtown location will enable UTSA to address San Antonio’s immediate workforce needs by connecting UTSA students to experiential learning opportunities. These hands-on learning opportunities help give graduates a chance to apply their classroom knowledge in a real-world setting, giving them a competitive edge in the job market. At the same time, pairing students with local employers gives hiring managers a first look at the talent that UTSA is producing.
“We intentionally developed San Pedro I to sit in the heart of downtown San Antonio where it will attract unique government-university-industry strategic partnerships in the fields of data science, cybersecurity and national security,” said UTSA President Taylor Eighmy. “Moreover, this is at the heart of our focus on advancing workforce and economic development here in San Antonio while developing new knowledge for these essential industries. This is a big day for UTSA, our region and our state.”
San Pedro I is the first of two Downtown Campus facilities that will anchor UTSA to San Antonio’s and South Texas’ prospering high-tech corridor. The university is also in the planning stages for a new $161.2 million Innovation, Entrepreneurship and Careers (IEC) building, to be known as San Pedro II. Together, the two buildings will provide the expanded footprint UTSA needs to increase its efforts in innovation, entrepreneurship and career-engaged learning to make a statewide impact.
As businesses across Texas continue to seek highly trained and motivated professionals, investments like UTSA’s San Pedro I will provide the workforce that companies need while paving the way for a brighter future for the state and its residents.