May 15, 2016

EastCampusTowerThe University’s East Campus may not reflect the same Collegiate Georgian architectural style as the main campus, but make no mistake: The SMU buildings east of Central Expressway contain a hive of University activity.

Since 2006, SMU has acquired 15 acres east of U.S. Highway 75 (Central Expressway). Many of the buildings line SMU Boulevard (formerly Yale Boulevard), the most predominant of which is the 15-story Expressway Tower, a Dallas landmark that once served as headquarters for the Dallas Cowboys.

Today Expressway Tower houses administrative offices for human resources, financial operations, and facilities planning and management. Across the street is 6200 Central Expressway, housing some units of development and external affairs, including alumni relations.

SMU’s Office of Human Resources (HR) was one of the first to relocate to Expressway Tower in 2007. “The move enabled HR to have a beautiful new space, including a full state-of-the-art training room; however, we knew we would miss being on the main campus,” says Sheri Starkey, associate vice president and chief human resource officer. “HR had to learn to reach our faculty and staff in new and different ways, and we’ve found that people enjoy coming to our offices or attending a course in our training center.”

Expressway Tower also houses Dedman College’s Department of Psychology, Lyle School of Engineering labs and its Darwin Deason Institute  for Cyber Security, and several programs of the Annette Caldwell Simmons School of Education and Human Development, including Research in Mathematics Education, StemPrep and the Center on Research and Evaluation. Simmons’ Locomotor Performance Laboratory is housed in a building at 5533 Dyer, where research is conducted on the mechanics of movement, performance, metabolic energy expenditure and metabolic power.

Having psychology housed at the tower has been an adjustment, because classes are still taught on the main campus, mostly in Hyer Hall, says  George Holden, professor of psychology and department chair. Many students now prefer to contact their professors via email rather than come to the  Tower for office hours. But the move has provided more space for research labs.

Continuing and Professional Education (CAPE) moved into an SMU building at 5539 SMU Boulevard. Because CAPE offers hundreds of courses and registers from 6,000 to 10,000 adult students each year, “having a permanent building has given our small unit an important identity and allowed us to provide better service,” says Kimberly Rutigliano, director of CAPE. “Having our own classrooms has allowed us to expand certificate programs, and we now have the space to offer weeklong intensive programs for working professionals.”

To ensure that the surrounding community knows of SMU’s presence in the area, a sign atop Expressway Tower features the SMU logo and the words East Campus. Added more recently is a large outline of the familiar running Mustang that lights up nightly and in red when SMU wins home football and basketball games. The cupolas atop the Blanton Student Services Building and Armstrong Commons also light up in red after wins, creating a spirit connection between the east and main campuses.

SMU’s East Campus also has become an integral part of the University Crossing Public Improvement District (UCPID), a neighborhood comprising more than 200 organizations and businesses within a 122-acre radius defined by North Central Expressway, Mockingbird Lane, Greenville Avenue and Lovers Lane. Brad Cheves, SMU  vice president for development and external affairs, and Paul Ward, SMU vice president for legal affairs, serve  on the UCPID board of directors. Improvements made to the area include beautification, lighting and brick paving.

The latest development on the East Campus was the groundbreaking in February for SMU’s new Robson-Lindley Aquatics Center. The future site of SMU’s outdoor pool is next to the center. Two new parking lots are being constructed on Dyer Street next to Central Expressway and are scheduled to open this summer.