With upper deck in place, Arena on schedule

May 16, 2014 / by / 0 Comment

Editor’s note: Second in a series of progress reports on the Grand Canyon University Arena expansion.

By Rick Vacek
GCU News Bureau

Standing above the upper deck of Grand Canyon University Arena – yes, there now actually is an upper deck – Bob Machen gazed below with a look of contentment.

“Front row, center court – that will be the best seat in the house,” GCU’s project development manager said. “That’s because it’s unobstructed. No one standing in your way.”

The new upper deck at GCU Arena has taken shape. Photo by Darryl Webb

The new upper deck at GCU Arena has taken shape. (Photo by Darryl Webb)

The first concrete for the upper deck was poured late last week, and by Tuesday night it was done, stretching completely around. Just like that, the project to increase the Arena’s capacity by nearly 75 percent has the look of an undertaking that is taking shape … and is on schedule.

“That’s because it is,” Machen said. “It definitely is.”

The goal remains the morning Chapel service on Monday, Sept. 8. Pastor Tim Griffin, GCU’s dean of students, is advised to circle that date on his calendar … in pencil, at least. In Machen’s world, it’s one thing to say it’s on schedule, but it’s a whole ’nother to say it definitely will happen.

But he’s becoming increasingly confident. The “hiccups” he works so hard to head off have been virtually nonexistent. “Barely a handful,” he said.

How the north end will look in the renovated Arena.

How the north end will look in the renovated Arena.

Now comes the fine-tuning, and the next noticeable changes aren’t scheduled to take shape until next month: First, the remaining heavy equipment will be removed and the new concrete floor will be poured, and then the seats in the upper deck should start being installed by the end of June. In the meantime, measurements for the seats have to be taken and bolts have to be drilled into the concrete.

Even as it comes together, Machen marvels at the progress. The man has built more than his share of large facilities in his day, but such an ambitious expansion project is a new experience, even to him.

“This is a total remodel, redo, whatever you want to call it, and it’s a lot different,” he said. “The majority of things I’ve done are ground-up projects. It’s a different mentality. When you’re involved in building a new building, you look at drawings and hold to that. With a redo, there are renderings but they’re not as exact. There are things that are done on the fly.”

But those are just the details. Overall, even in its current state, you can see the makings of the renderings that GCU first publicized a couple of months ago.

“It’s a great design,” Machen said.

And, just as important, it’s on schedule.

Contact Rick Vacek at 602.639.8203 or [email protected].

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