Centennial Plaza Transformation to Begin at UTEP

The heart of the UTEP campus is about to undergo a striking transformation as work begins on the new Centennial Plaza, the signature project in UTEP's multifaceted redesign of its outdoor spaces.

Beginning Monday, May 20, construction fences will be erected around the center of the campus and vehicles will no longer be permitted to drive through the campus on University Avenue or Hawthorne Street.

“As UTEP approaches the celebration of 100 years of service to this Paso del Norte region, we have begun the implementation of a new phase in the recent expansion of our campus facilities with the goal of creating a climate consistent with UTEP’s development as a national research university with a 21st century student demographic,” said UTEP President Diana Natalicio.

Improving pedestrian safety as well as relocating and, in some cases, replacing the infrastructure of electrical, gas and water utilities on campus, are other major components of the work.

Centennial Plaza will become the symbolic and functional hub of the University, serving as a large open space surrounded by the Psychology Building on the north side, Union Building West to the east, Geological Sciences to the west and the Administration Building and Peter and Margaret de Wetter Center to the south.

The campus transformation plan reconnects Centennial Plaza to the rest of campus by eliminating streets and parking lots, and the vehicular traffic they support – thereby uncovering and recapturing the beauty of the natural rock structures and arroyos.

In its center, Centennial Plaza will include an open area reminiscent of urban plazas located across the region and in Mexico where residents congregate and celebrate life, and a paseo for strolling, socializing, relaxing and studying with friends and classmates that will be generously shaded by groves of mesquite trees. This versatile green space will become a welcoming oasis, offering a venue for campus and outreach events, and inspiring a community of artists, thinkers and writers.

“The timing of this plan, in conjunction with the preparations for the celebration of UTEP’s Centennial in 2014, has also presented us with an opportunity to create a lasting legacy of this important milestone in our University’s distinguished history of serving this Paso del Norte region,” said President Natalicio. “The campus transformation initiative could not be achieved without the support of our many friends and alumni who have chosen to direct their donations to these efforts.”

The University plans to inaugurate Centennial Plaza in the fall of 2014 as one its signature events in the celebration of the UTEP 2014 Centennial.

To stay up to date on all the campus transformation work, visit OnTheMove.UTEP.edu.


Campus Transformation Fun Facts

These figures pertain to the Campus Transformation projects in the campus core, including Centennial Plaza, the area in front of Old Main, and Leech Grove.

  • 14 types of trees are being proposed.
  • The total area affected is approximately 10.66 acres.
  • More than 1.25 miles of construction fencing will be installed.
  • 5,000 tons of concrete and rock will be recycled.
  • 3,000 tons of asphalt will be recycled.
  • 500 tons of vegetation will be recycled.
  • 4.5 tons of steel will be recycled.
  • 23,000 cubic yards of excavated rock will be exported for recycling.
  • 4,950 linear feet of chilled water piping will be installed.
  • 5,560 linear feet of hot water piping will be installed.