We report on the design and construction of the Texas Petawatt Laser. This research facility will consist of two, synchronized laser systems that will be used for a wide variety of high intensity laser and high energy density science experiments. The first laser is a novel, high energy (200 J), short pulse (150 fs) petawatt-class laser that is based on hybrid, broadband optical parametric chirped pulse amplification (OPCPA) and mixed silicate and phosphate Nd:glass amplification. The second laser will provide 500 J at 527 nm (>1 kJ @1053 nm) with pulse widths selectable from 2-20 ns. Design and construction began in early 2003 and is scheduled to complete in 2007. In this report we will briefly discuss some of the important applications of this system, present the design of the laser and review some of the technology used to achieve pulse durations approaching 100 fs. Currently, the facility has been renovated for laser construction. The oscillator and stretcher are operational with the first stage of gain measured at 2×106. Output energies of 500μJ have been achieved with good near field image quality. Delivery has been taken for Nova components that will compose the main amplifier chain of the laser system.