New student residences, parking garage on schedule
By Michael Ferraresi
GCU News Bureau
It’s another blazing hot, construction-heavy summer.
Over the next two months, expect to hear the grinding and churning of heavy machinery as two new student residences, a second parking garage, retail food sites, and more classroom spaces open to as many as 11,000 Grand Canyon University students by August.
Oh yes, the new Arts and Sciences classroom and office space at Building 16 is open for business. GCU Arena is still under construction, too. So there’s plenty of activity at all corners of campus.
GCU Today caught up with Rich Oesterle, who oversees University campus development, for an update about ongoing and recently completed projects:
New administration building
The brickwork of old Fleming Library was preserved as part of a modern overhaul to the new building, which houses the offices of GCU Provost Dr. Hank Radda, Executive Chairman of the Board Brent Richardson, Chief University Relations Officer Faith Weese, the Center for Innovation in Research and Teaching, staff for University strategic educational alliances, and other administrators. The refurbished Building 23 is now open, although many staffers are still hanging pictures and getting acclimated to the new site — which features wide glass windows that face the main driveway entrance to campus at 33rd Avenue.
With 940 beds, the Papago complex of private four- and two-bedroom units on the east side of campus by Camelback Hall is on schedule to open to students in August. Initially, planners thought that retail food outlets would be built at the ground level, but plans changed. The complex will include the new mail center for the entire campus, fitness rooms, a swimming pool and a courtyard, in addition to a satellite office for Residence Life.
Unlike Papago, the newest residence hall at the northeastern corner of campus includes little flex space for amenities and will provide “100 percent rooms,” Oesterle said. It’s designed like Saguaro Hall, but without the space for classrooms and studios that Saguaro offers on its ground floor. While Saguaro houses 614 students, Ocotillo will house 653 — mostly freshmen — by August.
35th Avenue parking garage
By now, you may have noticed huge flatbed trucks staging at the northwestern corner of campus. They’re towing massive pieces of precast concrete used to build the new parking garage just west of the GCU Soccer Field. The parking garage will be ready in time for school, providing an additional 1,380 parking spots to ease traffic congestion.
The housing complex site GCU acquired earlier this year could be razed in the near future, Oesterle said, after crews complete an asbestos abatement and address the existing electrical lines. There has been some initial discussion about the type of buildings that go up on that site, which extends the northwestern corner of campus to 35th and Missouri avenues, although nothing has been finalized.
Qdoba, Mojo Bowl and Subway
The west side of the Student Union will undergo a facelift to accommodate retail sites for Qdoba and Mojo Bowl. Crews will knock out a large section of the Union’s west wall, where the mail center used to be, to create space for the food stations and customer seating. Additionally, the Subway at Thunder Alley will add a second sandwich line — adjusting seating a bit — to make things move a little faster this fall.
New classroom space
The old Marketing and Office of Academic Records offices at the Colter office complex have been gutted to make room for eight different labs and/or classrooms for the College of Fine Arts and Production. Those rooms will be open in August. Staff in Facilities and Campus Development will remain at Colter.
Additionally, Oesterle said the University plans to create a larger classroom at Fleming Hall — where offices for the College of Doctoral Studies and Center for Integrated Science, Engineering and Technology used to be — by remodeling the existing space.
At the southwestern corner of campus, the three versatile, older “modular” buildings that have served a variety of purposes over the past few years will be remodeled exclusively for classroom space.
Contact Michael Ferraresi at 602.639.7030 or firstname.lastname@example.org.