GCU construction projects reach middle ground
Editor’s note: This is the first in a series of progress reports on construction at GCU.
Story by Rick Vacek
Photos by Tyler McDonald
GCU News Bureau
For most of the 2014-15 school year, you couldn’t walk around the perimeter of the Grand Canyon University campus without seeing construction activity.
Now it’s right in the middle of everything, too. All three fields in the heart of campus are undergoing makeovers, and when they’re finished two of them still will be natural grass — just not the same two as before.
The artificial turf at Mariposa Field has been taken out to make way for the new soccer stadium. Rich Oesterle, director of campus development, said the two buildings that must be removed to make room for the natural-grass field, the bookstore and Building 9, will be leveled by early June.
The purple iron fencing from Mariposa Field now lines the intramural field, which is being transformed from grass to artificial turf with a grass berm surrounding it. New turf will be brought in and installed in 2-3 weeks.
There soon will be a new look for the Quad as well, but it will remain natural grass. The field in front of GCU Arena was leveled off to improve its usability and will be resodded within three weeks.
Construction of the biggest and most noticeable mid-campus change hasn’t started yet but should be evident by the time students return in August.
The pool in front of the Student Union will be moved to between Hegel and Canyon halls, and in its place, a four-story student services building is scheduled to open by early 2016. Student Affairs, Spiritual Life, Career Services, Athletics and the Administration will be housed there.
The pool will remain open until construction begins, Oesterle said.
The new buildings on the outskirts of campus all are on target for their August openings.
The first project in the most recent batch, the engineering building on Camelback Road, is on the home stretch and should be ready for furnishing next month.
The biggest undertaking — the four residence halls and parking garage at The Grove on the northwest corner of campus — has made noticeable progress in recent weeks.
Acacia and Willow, the two westernmost residence halls, seemingly have been transformed overnight with stucco on the outside, and the carpeting inside is being installed, too. The furniture for those buildings is scheduled to start arriving in June. Ironwood and Juniper, the residence halls on the east side of The Grove, have a little further to go but will be ready on time as well, Oesterle said.
The artificial turf from Mariposa Field, currently rolled up and stacked behind the softball field, will be used in The Grove’s intramural fields. They are expected to be completed a couple of weeks after school starts.
Grove Garage came together quickly after it was started early this year — garages are much easier to build because of the large pieces that fit together like Legos — and will be available to students when they return. The new public safety office in the garage’s southwest corner is on course to open soon, too.
Construction of Lopes Way in the middle of campus isn’t as evident but will gain momentum in early June when the Health and Wellness Center moves to its new quarters in Papago I. Interior demolition will start at that point.
There also is one more healthy addition to the food choices that will be available on Lopes Way: Zime, described on its website as “a totally modern bakery-café brand that offers fresh, nutritious meals,” will be in Thunder Alley.
One other change that should prove popular is the expansion of the hours when eight-passenger golf cart shuttles will be running from Grove Garage and east parking areas to the center of campus. The shuttles will be available from 3:30 to 10 p.m. daily.
Contact Rick Vacek at 602-639-8203 or firstname.lastname@example.org.