KATY (Covering Katy News) – Groundbreaking is set for next week on the future University of Houston Katy. The site is on Partnership Way on the northeast corner of the Grand Parkway and the Katy Freeway near the soon to be opened Asian Market.
It will be a University of Houston system’s campus which means it will offer classes from the University of Houston and the University of Houston-Victoria. The building will be 80,000 square feet.
“This building is going to be beautiful, and I think the community is really going to be pleased,” said Jay Neal, Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs and Chief Operating Officer for the University of Houston at Katy and Sugar Land.
“We’ve got about 46 acres,” Neal said of the property that many are calling University Center.
Neal admits that construction is on a tight schedule. Classes are scheduled to begin in the fall of 2019 at the new UH Katy.
“The plan is to have everything completed when we move in,” Neal added.
Engineering, nursing, business administration and online courses are among those classes that will be available.
Neal anticipates 600 students will be enrolled in the undergraduate engineering programs and 480 students in the graduate engineering programs.
Students pursuing studies in systems engineering will learn how to develop solar panels and large electric batteries for cars. There will be an environmental engineering program where students will learn to design power systems. Petroleum engineering will also be part of the program. UH is already offering subsea engineering classes at the Houston Community College campus, and those students and professors will move to the new campus when it opens.
“HCC has allowed us to use their space for now, and they’ve been really good neighbors for us,” Neal said.
The College of Nursing will offer its traditional Bachelor of Science program. This is the first time the college has offered a traditional nursing degree. The first group will accommodate 30 students.
“They will go slow at first, but I think it will take off,” Neal said of the nursing program. “We’ve got a lot of support from the hospitals out here,” he added.
Funding from the Texas Legislature has made the campus possible. Neal credits former Rep. Bill Callegari and then Sen. Glenn Hegar for their work in Austin, as well as Sen. Lois Kolkhorst, Sen. Joan Huffman, Rep John Zerwas and Rep. Mike Schofield. He says the Katy Area Chamber of Commerce; the Katy Area Economic Development Council and the West Houston Chamber of Commerce have been very supportive of the UH expansion to Katy.
The University of Houston System has spent a great deal of time studying the need of today’s students and the local business community prior to deciding the course offerings at the UH Katy campus.
“Dr. Paula Short, UH System Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and UH Provost, put together a large Katy task force that has taken a deep dive into the Katy campus that will really make this work,” Neal said.
Groundbreaking is at 1 p.m. Wednesday, May 23, 2018.
See more renderings below.