New IREB praised as both a work of art and a technological wonder

By Jan Jarvis

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As she stood on the first floor of the new Interdisciplinary Research and Education Building, Alyssa Wilder envisioned herself spending a lot of time there.

“Oh my gosh there’s so much space and look at all this glass,” said Wilder, a first-year Texas College of Osteopathic Medicine student. “When you’re stuck indoors all day studying, seeing all this light just makes you feel so much better.”

Panels of glass – 36,200 square feet of it, making up 41 percent of the building – captivated many of those who attended the grand opening of the IREB, the first new research facility at UNTHSC in 14 years. But more than the clean lines and cascades of light, it was the role the new building will play that is expected to have the real impact.

At a dedication ceremony, President Michael R.Williams said the new building is a way for UNTHSC to fulfill its purpose to transform lives in order to improve the lives of others.

“Today we dedicated a building that will stand for generations,” Dr. Williams said. “I’m always thinking what’s next, and the real celebration will be in 10 to 15 years when students are out impacting thousands of lives. That’s the gift that keeps on giving.”

Mayor Betsy Price said she is ready to celebrate the newest building on campus, adding that UNTHSC has come a long way since it started in a bowling alley.

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“It is such a great addition to the Cultural District,” she said of the IREB. “It’s another piece of art.”

After cutting the ribbon, Mayor Price and Rep. Charlie Geren joined others on a tour of the five-story, 173,000-square-foot building that will house the UNT System College of Pharmacy, the Texas Christian University and UNTHSC School of Medicine and the North Texas Eye Research Institute.

Many of those who attended the grand opening were contractors, staff and others who had played a part in building it.

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The building will have an impact on the community for a long time, said Scott Sevigny, Principal with Shah, Smith and Associates, an engineering consultant firm.

“This is the kind of design we are inspired to do,” he said. “A lot of hard work and long days went into it. Seeing this makes it all worthwhile.”

Plenty of teamwork went into opening the building on time and under budget, said Jason Hartley, Vice President for Operations, who praised the architecture team TreanorTL, Vaughn Construction and UNT System employees for their dedication in creating a building that is both beautiful and a technological wonder. It is like nothing else on campus, he said.

“You have to walk through the space and really experience it,” Hartley said.

For TCOM student Sabri Zooper, the cozy nooks on the first floor were the biggest standout.

“I love this area,” she said. “I’m definitely coming back here to study.”

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