The Texas Biomedical Research Institute’s new $27 million science complex, funded entirely by donors, will be dedicated at 2:30 pm on March 27. It is part of a campus master plan that includes a major effort to recruit world-class scientists, enhance existing research programs and initiate new ones to accelerate the pace of discovery.
Elements of the expansion plan include recruiting additional faculty members in the Genetics and Virology and Immunology departments and the Southwest National Primate Research Center. The goal of these recruitments will be to promote the translation of discoveries into medical applications. Texas Biomed also plans to expand its regenerative medicine program to advance the effort to repair tissue in people with a variety of conditions and illnesses. This effort, which will involve recruiting two additional researchers, will include collaborations with other investigators in San Antonio.
The new building will provide an attractive “front door” for Texas Biomed and represent the public face of the campus. The laboratory and office building will consist of 15 research laboratories, shared instrument rooms for these laboratories, and equipment and service space. The complex also will consolidate researchers and laboratories now housed in multiple buildings around the campus and will substantially increase efficiency of research through shared staff and equipment. The building will provide space for a number of nationally prominent visiting scientists who will collaborate with Texas Biomed researchers. And it will serve as a visible focal point for the SNPRC, one of only eight such centers in the United States and the only one in the Southwest.
The design of the new headquarters honors the legacy of founder Tom Slick and his family, and adds a new level of detail and artistry to the campus with its use of tilt-wall construction for the new building’s facade. The building’s shape, orientation, and systems also work together integrally to reduce overall energy use. Projections show the new structure will operate at over 20 percent better efficiency than current building codes require. This energy efficiency combined with other environmentally appropriate decisions with respect to the site design, water consumption, building materials and indoor environmental quality — have the project tracking to achieve certification from the U.S. Green Building Council’s Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system. The glazed lobby windows contain images unique to Texas Biomed including Tom and Earl Slick, animal models, and distinguishing research facilities.
The new facility will be important to staff and will be an exciting mechanism for retention and recruitment of world-class scientists. Among the major goals are to replace aging SNPRC facilities; provide a comfortable, attractive facility for Texas Biomed and visiting scientists; bring together administrative offices and laboratories that are currently spread across the campus; and create a building with a bold design that is in keeping with current campus materials and aesthetics while making the best use of the Institute’s finances.
The campus master plan also envisions projects that will address needs far into the future — as much as 25 years — a significant planning horizon, considering the blistering pace of innovation in science. The plan includes support infrastructure — engineering, energy, utilities, communications, and transportation — and provides more open, green, and pedestrian-friendly spaces. This also will involve a rearrangement of the campus with a new entrance and new courtyard and common areas that will make Texas Biomed a more aesthetically pleasing place to work and visit.