The University of Texas at Tyler is looking to shape the local economy through its fast growing business programs.
The university broke ground on a new $56 million College of Business and Technology building on Thursday.
The four-story, 140,000-square-foot building will help the university reach its goal of 14,000 students enrolled by 2020. However, at the current rate of growth, that number could soar as high as 18,000.
The College of Business is the largest school at UT Tyler, accounting for more than 2,600 of the university’s nearly 10,000 students. Dean James Lumpkin hopes to see that number climb even higher.
“It’s about a 10-year building at our growth rate,” he said. “We want the problem of saying we’re full.”
Lumpkin said nearly half of all graduate students are enrolled in the college of business.
“We keep a lot of them. They work right here in the community,” Lumpkin said.
Lumpkin said the university just launched a category management program, which he said makes UT Tyler the fourth school in the country to have the program.
"It’s absolutely the cutting edge of the way businesses are organized from the wholesale level all the way up to the retail level," he said.
Tyler Mayor Martin Heines, a graduate of The University of Texas at Austin business school, said he is excited about the program.
“I’m willing to say the greatest single (success) indicator for Tyler, Texas, is the growth of UT Tyler,” he said.
The project also includes a new parking garage with room for about 400 parking spaces. Some of the building’s features will include student meeting spaces, specialized experimental labs, a courtyard and second floor terrace.
Upon completion of the project, UT Tyler will renovate the existing business school spaces and make room for the College of Arts and Science.
Tyler Area Chamber of Commerce President Tom Mullins said the college has a significant impact on the city’s economy due to the influx of students and the skilled labor they provide.
“In addition, the university educates a workforce that we need to compete to bring companies to this area,” Mullins said. “We’re building a foundation for Tyler and East Texas to grow into the next century and have a successful economy for years to come.”
Tyler Morning Telegraph