(LAREDO) — Senator Judith Zaffirini, D-Laredo, and The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio (UTHSCSA) President Francisco G. Cigarroa M.D., today (Wednesday) dedicated the newest building of UTHSCSA’s Laredo Campus Extension (LCE). The 20,600 square-foot Academic Building is the second constructed at the LCE and will provide additional classroom space, laboratories and faculty offices to support the expanding health and medical educational programs at the university’s auxiliary campus in Laredo.
“The expansion of the Health Science Center in Laredo provides our families and community with greater access to health resources by creating educational opportunities for physicians, dentists, nurses and allied health professionals who not only are from this area, but also wish to stay and practice in this area,” Senator Zaffirini said. “Because of these efforts and this new building, more students will be familiar with the health problems that are unique to the South Texas Border Region. As a state senator, I was proud to author and pass legislation allowing the Health Science Center to establish and operate the LCE, and I will continue to support its growth by securing state funding and resources.”
In 1999 Senator Zaffirini authored and passed Senate Bill 1288, which established UTHSCSA’s Laredo campus. Construction of the LCE’s second building was made possible by Zaffirini’s leadership in securing $12.7 million in state resources. What’s more, during the 2007 legislative session she secured an additional $3 million for LCE faculty, staff, educational programs, joint degrees, facilities and student support services, which are needed for the Dental Regional Campus that serves the Mid Rio Grande Border Area. Senator Zaffirini has provided a total of $33 million in state funding for the LCE.
The new Academic Building also will include a virtual community health library for health practitioners, students and the general public. What’s more, the Texas Cancer Registry South Texas/Laredo Partnership, which serves the Laredo area by collecting and analyzing cancer data, will be located in the new building.
Immediately following the Academic Building dedication, Senator Zaffirini joined Dr. Cigarroa and Dr. Ray Keck, President of Texas A&M International University, in announcing an agreement between the institutions to offer a joint bachelor’s degree in nutrition and dietetics. The program will provide students with educational opportunities that will benefit communities with increased access to and awareness of nutritional guidance. Senator Zaffirini has encouraged and supported both institutions in creating joint educational programs that increase public health and the quality of life for families in South Texas.