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UTEP's president talks future of campus as centennial nears
By: Gina Benitez
EL PASO, Texas - As UTEP's 100th birthday nears -- the university's president tells KFOX 14 the huge changes across campus won't only benefit the school -- but the region as a whole.
"A centennial only occurs once every hundred years so you've got to get it right. When you celebrate your 100th birthday, you got to do things well," said Dr. Diana Natalicio, president of UTEP.
As part of it's centennial celebration, UTEP's campus is undergoing a major makeover.
"We've built some buildings, we're doing a campus transformation, which is gonna change the feel of the campus. I think it's going to be a very different kind of campus. Pedestrian friendly but also a place where people wanna spend time outside," Natalicio said.
"We have a pretty campus, it's really pretty, really beautiful. It's going to be better," said Berenice Deharo.
But it's not all aesthetics.
"One of the things we want to do is improve water conservation on the campus. We paved over a lot of natural drainages with streets and parking lots and what we're going to do is recapture those natural drainages, or arroyos," Natalicio said.
Some of the biggest changes run a little deeper than construction.
"We're trying to build some traditions that we will continue like our centennial lecture series and things that are stimulating and thought provoking. Not just for those of us on the campus but for people in the region," Natalicio said.
UTEP is trying to propel into tier one status.
In other words, a top research university.
"It just makes us better known, more visibly internationally, which means we attract more students, we attract more faculty, more applicants and you just become more competitive," Natalicio said.
This year, the school's received research grants totaling $84 million dollars.
But all the work being done isn't solely for the university.
"Then of course the economic impact. I mean, the number of startup businesses will increase," Natalicio said.
"That's bringing more people into the campus and into the city, which brings more money in which is always good," said Rogelio Favela, a recent UTEP graduate.