Math House Comes Down, Opens up Welcoming Space
Among University of St. Thomas’ long-term plans for the campus is to complete the Academic Mall. This involves tearing down the last house located on the southeast corner of the Mall next to Doherty Library. Demolition will begin in mid-September.
This building at 4004 Yoakum housed Math, Computer Science and Cooperative Engineering faculty, but for many years it was Tiller Hall, home to the Center for International Studies.
UST's new Associate Vice President for Facilities Operations, Ben Mendez, explains the project.
“The long-term plan for that space is not known,” Mendez said. “The purpose of this project is to provide the campus with curb-side appeal for visitors passing through. It is also to instill UST pride on campus. Temporarily, we will fill in that space with a four-foot landscaped incline made of dirt which will be topped off with rocks that will spell UST. Our goal is to have this done by end of September.”
Mendez is a big fan of campus beautification. Similar projects at other universities spell out their acronym in either rocks or flowers and sets the tone for visitors coming to campus. Mendez used these examples as inspiration for UST’s design plans.
“Curb-side appeal is a big thing for me,” Mendez said. “We will also be redoing the front of Admissions. This project has already started and will be completed this month. The outdoor patio area for Crooker will also be redone to include more outdoor seating for students and staff. In addition, we will be working on landscape throughout the campus.”
Meet Ben Mendez
Mendez, holds a degree in mechanical engineering and has more than 27 years of experience in the construction industry with special expertise in managing, budgeting, and program/policy development. Some career in construction highlights include:
- Program Manager - Design and Construction Division of the Houston Police Department
- Facilities Manager – MD Anderson Cancer Center
- Director of Facilities – Parrish Hospital in Orlando, Florida
- Executive Director of Facilities – Cornerstone Hospitals
Mendez also holds a teaching certificate and taught math at Austin High School, Houston Community College and the University of Houston. He has served on various community boards, including the American Red Cross and has received many outstanding leadership awards including Houston’s Emerging Leader Award bestowed by the Houston Chronicle in 2009.