Key Senator Backs UT System Plan to Rethink New HQ

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AUSTIN, Texas -- A key lawmaker is endorsing plans by the University of Texas System to rethink construction of a new $102 million headquarters in downtown Austin.

Republican Sen. Kel Seliger told the Austin American-Statesman the decision was "businesslike and insightful" given the costs. The Amarillo lawmaker is the new chairman of the influential state Senate Higher Education Committee.

The UT System oversees 15 academic and health campuses, including the flagship campus in Austin. System employees currently work out of a five-building complex downtown.

System officials this week decided to reconsider plans to consolidate into a new 15-story building. The system had projected the move to save up to $5 million annually in operation costs.

Legislative approval isn't required for the system to build a new headquarters.