Hundreds of workers, Texas A&M University System dignitaries, Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI) leadership and members of the media attended the topping out ceremony for TTI’s new headquarters building Jan. 18. This ceremony occurs when the beam of the building’s highest point is put in place.
“This building is going to help save thousands and thousands of lives,” A&M System Chancellor John Sharp said as he addressed the crowd, thanking the workers in both English and Spanish. Sharp was the impetus behind the A&M System’s RELLIS Campus concept, transforming the 2,000-acre former U.S. Army air base into a modern educational and engineering complex to address critical engineering problems while enhancing education and training opportunities. RELLIS researchers are actively seeking partnerships with private-sector industries involved in connected and automated technologies, infrastructure, and energy, to name just a few.
The RELLIS Campus development is still in its early stages. The Center for Infrastructure Renewal (CIR) building is now open, and the TTI Headquarters Building is scheduled for completion by the end of the year, with occupancy planned for spring 2019. CIR, a facility shared by TTI and the Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station, houses researchers dedicated to “developing advanced and sustainable materials and structural systems that will reduce cost and extend infrastructure life, safety, resiliency and durability.”
“We are pleased to be the first of the A&M System to be headquartered here on the RELLIS Campus,” TTI Agency Director Greg Winfree said at the event. “This is a monumental time for us.”
Blinn College has partnered with the A&M System and is building its second local campus at RELLIS. And, in fall 2018, students from A&M System universities will be able to pursue various associate and bachelor’s degree programs through the RELLIS Academic Alliance.
The $70 million, 179,000-square-foot TTI headquarters will house all the Institute’s local employees and TTI’s Driving Simulation and Visibility Research Laboratories. “When you combine the best agency in the world in transportation research [TTI] with that building over there, the Center for Infrastructure Renewal, you’ll have everything you need to design buildings and infrastructure to make sure they are safe,” Sharp said at the event.