UT Regents Endorse Unprecedented $2.56 Billion Plan   10/01/2009
Investment to Boost UT Science, Engineering, Technology Investment to Boost UT Science, Engineering, Technology

The University of Texas System board of regents endorsed an investment of $2.56 billion in early August to boost competitiveness in key scientific areas.

Regents approved 22 capital construction projects valued at more than $1.5 billion for the 2007 fiscal year. The projects are in addition to 22 others approved by the regents since August 2005 totaling $954.4 million.

The capital projects are focused on providing the UT System academic and health institutions with state-of-the-art equipment, facilities and start-up packages designed to recruit top research scientists and faculty. Examples of new investments include $27 million for a new math, science and engineering teaching-learning facility at UT Dallas; $80.4 million for a new engineering research building at UT Arlington; and $150 million for a new 200,000-sq.-ft. South Texas Research Facility at the UT Health Science Center in San Antonio.

The investment is the largest single financial commitment in UT System's history. Funding will come from a variety of sources.

The UT System initiative follows several national studies and calls for action to address the country's decline in producing scientists and engineers and erosion of U.S. global competitiveness.

Of the total $2.56 billion, $2.48 billion is designated for 44 science, technology, engineering and health-related capital projects. The investment includes $76.8 million for faculty recruitment and smaller equipment, as well as repair and renovation projects in the current and next fiscal years.

Jacobs Joint Venture Selected for ID/IQ Contract to Support Fort Bliss

Jacobs Engineering Group Inc. recently announced that a subsidiary company, in a joint venture with Huitt-Zollars, received an indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity contract from the Fort Worth District, U.S. Corps of Engineers, to provide multidiscipline design and other professional services primarily supporting the Fort Bliss Modular Force (Army Transformation) Program in El Paso.

The contract is for a one-year base period, followed by four one-year renewal option periods. The maximum cumulative contract value is $75 million.

The Jacobs/Huitt-Zollars Joint Venture is providing land development engineering including site development, site design, site integration and management and oversight services with a focus on coordinating the horizontal infrastructure with vertical construction activities required to accommodate the deployment of multiple new brigade combat teams at Fort Bliss.

HKS Merges With Stein-Cox Group, Nelsen Acquires Team Haas

HKS Architects Inc. of Dallas recently merged with The Stein-Cox Group, a Phoenix, Ariz.-based health-care design firm. HKS says the merger will allow the firm to leverage its specialty health-care design experience nationally. The new office also provides opportunity for expansion into other Arizona market sectors including commercial, hospitality and sports.

The Stein-Cox Group is a 20-person practice, founded by Mo Stein and Jeff Cox in 1987. Since its inception, the firm has completed more than $2 billion in construction throughout Arizona.

In another recent design-firm merger, Austin-based Nelsen Architects has acquired Team Haas, the Austin design firm involved in the design of Austin's new Joe R. and Teresa Lozano Long Performing Arts Center, a multi-venue facility.

Nova Contracts With Mueller for Equipment for Biodiesel Refineries Nova Contracts With Mueller for Equipment for Biodiesel Refineries

Nova Energy Holding Inc. of Houston recently signed purchase orders with Mueller Field Operations Inc., a subsidiary of the Paul Mueller Co. of Springfield, Mo., for the procurement and fabrication of stainless-steel equipment for three planned Nova refineries. The planned refineries will each be capable producing 60 million gallons of biodiesel on an annual basis.

"The stainless-steel market is currently tight," said Kenneth Hern, chairman and CEO of Nova. "By placing a purchase order now for the equipment for three facilities, we are locking up our supply of stainless steel and can avoid costly construction delays so that we can complete construction and commence producing biodiesel sooner than expected."

Fluor Awarded New Two-Year Disaster Assistance Contract By FEMA

Irving-based Fluor Corp. recently announced that its Government Group was awarded a two-year contract by FEMA. The Individual Assistance Technical Assistance Contract, or IA-TAC, will be for program and Disaster Recovery Center support, temporary housing group site design and construction and for the hauling and installing of temporary housing units for future disasters anywhere in the United States and its territories.

The contract, which was part of a multi-month, open-procurement process, went into effect on August 1. It has a contract ceiling of $250 million.