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UTEP awarded $70 million grant to expand 3-D printing program

A robot in the Keck center for 3-D Printing
Students working at the Keck center for 3-D printing

EL PASO, Texas -- The engineering department at the University of Texas at El Paso is reaching new heights.

UTEP was recently awarded $70 million from the U.T. board of regents from the permanent university fund, to expand its growing research and teaching program in additive manufacturing; otherwise known as 3-D printing.

The funding also focuses on UTEP's test facilities for rocket engines and drones currently located in east El Paso County near Fabens.

UTEP will now have the funds to build a major new facility to expand space for students and machinery as the university continues to grow its engineering department.

UTEP President Heather Wilson was quick to move on this opportunity. Wilson reported for duty on her first day on the job after taking over former UTEP president Diana Natalicio.

"My first day on the Job was a board of regents meeting where they said they were going to be entertaining proposals" Wilson said. "My job was to come back to the great team at UTEP here, and this was one of our ideas we put forward."

A major part of this program is their rocket engine testing, which falls generally into two parts. The first having to do with 3-D printing at the lab in the campus. The second, falls under the testing of the 3-D printed components into real life applications. Students of the M.W. Keck Center for 3-D innovation are exctied the grant is going to expand their work.

"We will finally have space for those machines that we needed to add. Also for testing and developing more materials like we are doing right now its been kind of cramped we've had a lot of students here its kept on growing now that we have more space we have the opportunity to accommodate even more students," student Sebastian Vargas said.

UTEP has continued to grow its engineering department, it now has more than 4,300 students actively enrolled.

JC Navarrete

El Paso native JC Navarrete co-anchors ABC-7’s weekend newscasts and reports during the week.


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