082521_Cotton_Facility_Grand_Opening, Wednesday, August 25, 2021, in El Paso, Texas. Photo by Ivan Pierre Aguirre/UTEP Communications
Wednesday, officials with the University of Texas at El Paso (UTEP) opened their new 3D manufacturing engineering facility in central El Paso.
University officials hope the new facility will spur new economic development in the Paso del Norte region.
UTEP hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony on Wednesday to commemorate the official opening of the 3D Engineering and Additive Manufacturing Technologies Center at 410 S. Cotton Street.
Regional economic development leaders, as well as local and federal elected officials, joined UTEP President Heather Wilson for the special occasion.
“UTEP is a national leader in additive manufacturing, and this new facility opens opportunities for job training and economic development in the heart of El Paso,” Wilson said. “Over time, we hope that new businesses will cluster in the neighborhood.”
The Cotton Facility is the latest initiative at UTEP in the field of additive manufacturing, also known as 3D printing. The center is an important part of the University’s commitment to work with the community to create the jobs of the future.
“The Cotton Facility serves several key purposes,” said Ryan Wicker, Ph.D., director of UTEP’s W.M. Keck Center for 3D Innovation and Mr. and Mrs. MacIntosh Murchison Endowed Professor of Mechanical Engineering.
“These include increasing the amount of research space available to the University; providing space for education and training for K-Ph.D., industry, military and veterans; extending UTEP’s reach in the community by increasing STEM outreach opportunities; and providing entrepreneurship and business creation opportunities in additive manufacturing.”
In 2017, the university acquired the 17,000-square-foot Cotton Facility in central El Paso and began renovating the space to expand its on-campus research facility focused on the use and development of additive manufacturing technologies.
The Cotton Facility is located less than four miles from the campus and about eight miles from Fort Bliss. The space has been remodeled in phases, and the facility now operates daily, housing equipment, students, faculty and staff.