Construction Update: New Classrooms, Admin Building, Possible Arena Expansion

May 08, 2013 / by / 0 Comment

The four-story expansion of the Student Union rises above the main entrance on the south side of the building. (Photo by Darryl Webb)


By Bob Romantic
GCU News Bureau

There’s never an “off” season when it comes to construction projects at Grand Canyon University. But the start of summer means even more activity on campus as the rapidly expanding University gears up for a fall semester in which ground enrollment is expected to increase by 30 percent to 8,500 students.

Four major construction projects will be completed this summer, a fifth begins in July and plans are in the works for several other projects that include a new administration building and possible expansion of GCU Arena.

Steel work at the Student Union building expansion is expected to begin today. (Photo by Darryl Webb)

Here’s a breakdown of what’s happening:

  • Construction of the two new five-story residence halls, Chaparral and Saguaro, is ahead of schedule and both are expected to be ready for the start of fall classes. Chaparral is 80 percent complete, with carpeting on the first four floors scheduled to be installed next week (trim work is being finished up on the
    fifth floor). At Saguaro, which is 60 percent complete, the framework is finished and work on the stucco and roofing has begun. A new swimming pool and rec center will be part of the new residence halls, as detailed in this story.
  • Masonry at the four-story Student Union expansion is nearly complete and steel work begins today. The Union, which will be as tall as the College of Arts and Sciences Building, will be the new home of the library on the third and fourth floors (detailed in this story), a Starbucks and lounge area on the second floor, and an expanded dining area on the bottom floor.
  • Painting has begun at the 27th Avenue offices, which should be complete by the end of July. A 120-person, platform-tiered lecture hall similar to those found in North Gym will be added to other amenities such as a fitness center, exercise room, coffee bars and self-serve convenience store that were detailed here. Employees located in the Annex I area west of campus will be moved temporarily to the College of Education building until the 27th Avenue offices are complete.
  • Construction of a new 33,700-square-foot classroom building just north of the College of Arts and Sciences building will begin in July. The new building will be located on the grassy area between the Promenade and the bookstore and will be roughly half the size of the CAS. Bob Machen, senior vice president for campus development, said it should be ready by January 2014.
  • A new swimming pool adjacent to Chaparral Residence Hall is just one of many new amenities in the new dorms on North Campus. (Photo by Bob Romantic)

    Once the library is relocated to the Student Union, Machen said the current Fleming library building near the Promenade entrance is being looked at as a site for a new administration building.

  • Machen added that discussions are under way to look at the feasibility of increasing the seating capacity at GCU Arena, although he emphasized that those talks are in the preliminary stages. That would give the University more flexibility for graduation ceremonies in the Arena as GCU continues to grow and also provide more seats for the switch to Division I athletics.
  • Renovations begin next week at Thunder Alley, which is closed for the summer. Chick-fil-A and Subway restaurants are being added to the dining fare at Thunder Alley.
  • A new mail distribution center is being constructed on the northwestern corner of campus (west of the soccer field). Student mailboxes will remain in the Student Union, but packages and copying services, etc., will be handled out of the mail distribution center. That location also allows easier access for mail and Fed-Ex shipments. Once the distribution center is up and running by the end of this month, the Campus Operations staff will move from Building 18 back to the Student Union.
  • Expansion of the Mariposa Lawn synthetic turf intramural field is expected to be completed by the first week of June. The back-flow preventers, fiber boxes and fire hydrants also will be relocated, providing enough space for two intramural soccer fields. The sand volleyball courts that had been adjacent to the Mariposa Lawn will be moved to an area near Brazell Stadium where the Pono Construction offices previously were located.

 Contact Bob Romantic at 639.7611 or


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