Skip to Main Content
View all Insights

Project Spotlight: University of Texas at San Antonio – Living Learning Lab

by Kat Phelps, Marketing Manager

JonesDBR Engineering Company is working alongside Ford Powell & Carson, Inc. on the design and construction of the new Living Learning Lab at The University of Texas at San Antonio (UTSA). The 2,000 sq. ft. facility was partially funded through a grant from the San Antonio River Authority and will serve to educate UTSA students, as well as the public on environmental issues. JonesDBR is providing MEP Engineering and Technology Design services.

The building is situated on undeveloped land on the western edge of UTSA’s main campus and will include open floorplan educational space to allow for group investigations, a screened-in outdoor classroom, and a small office space. Design features of the space include energy-efficient LED lighting, a high-efficiency VRF HVAC system, and an A/V system for educators to utilize in the outdoor classroom. 

UTSA’s main campus is located in the recharge zone of the Edwards Aquifer, where rainwater flows into the aquifer, which is the primary source of water for most of the city of San Antonio. Due to the environmental sensitivity of this location, stormwater run-off must be managed carefully in accordance with the practices outlined by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ).

The Living Learning Lab will help manage stormwater runoff from the surrounding watershed with the addition of Bioswale channels to recharge groundwater, a rain garden, and a rain collection cistern. The building will also include a green roof area, where a layer of vegetation is planted over a waterproofing system. The lab will allow for the data collection on water quality that can be used to inform future decisions on stormwater run-off management and will also serve the community as an educational field trip venue for K-12 students in the surrounding areas.

The Living Learning Lab is expected to open in 2021.