El Paso, TEXAS -

If you've driven by UTEP recently, you've definitely seen a lot of construction.

But once you get on campus, you can see there's even more going on.

It's all part of a $25 million project to transform the campus.

With school starting its fall semester Monday ABC-7's Gerardo Najera sat down with UTEP president Dr. Diana Natalicio to talk about all the ongoing changes on campus.

"It's extraordinarily exiting to see this campus transformation take place, this is something we've been dreaming about for twenty years," Natalicio said.

 

The UTEP campus has changed dramatically since its early beginnings and lately the center of campus has been littered with bulldozers and piles of stone.

It's all to make way for a new Centennial Plaza.

"We've built a lot of buildings but what we haven't done is knit them together with walkways, passages and little places where people can gather," said Natalicio.

Natalicio told ABC-7 the plaza will be the heart of the campus, a place to socialize, but also a place with a greater purpose.

"The primary goal is to eliminate the confrontation between pedestrians and vehicles, which has been a safety concern for us for a long time we've had to much congestion at the center of the campus," said Natalicio.

The project will do much more than just beautify the campus.

Natalicio also said crews are updating utility and wastewater lines.

"As we've begun to excavate in the center of the campus, some of that infrastructure is really much older than we realized, some of that dates from the 1930s and so we have pipes for example that are just crumbling. They're deteriorating because there so old," said Natalicio.

And despite adding three new parking lots, Natalicio said they're still working on more.

"We're looking at building another parking garage over here near the union between the Union and the Hilton Garden," said Natalicio.

With UTEP celebrating its 100th anniversary in 2014, Natalicio says the university is still looking towards the future.

"Thinking about UTEP at a hundred years of age is something that will help all of us appreciate more just what the potential is for the next hundred years," said Natalicio.

Natalicio told ABC-7 many of the projects will be completed in 2014, just in time for UTEP's centennial celebration.