The Grove, other projects near completion
Editor’s note: Third in a series of progress reports on the construction of new facilities at Grand Canyon University.
Story by Rick Vacek
Photos by Tyler McDonald
GCU News Bureau
The transformation of the northwest corner of the Grand Canyon University campus into a bustling hub for more than 3,400 freshmen is nearly complete, right on schedule for the fall semester.
Acacia Hall is fully furnished, Willow is just about done and workers have been assembling desks and beds in Ironwood all week. All three are expected to be available for early move-ins by Aug. 3.
That leaves Juniper, which unlike the other halls will contain offices for Student Engagement and Residence Life. It is expected to be ready before Welcome Week, which begins Aug. 17.
Most of the area is scheduled to be paved by the end of next week, but landscaping and other finishing touches will continue into the school year.
The lightning-quick progress is amazing, even to resident directors who have been visiting regularly. When two of them, Andrea Verwey and Andre Sauder, walked into the ground floor of Acacia last week, they were stunned to see that their offices — still under construction not long before — were finished.
“Wow, look at our offices! Look at how much it’s changed!” Verwey exclaimed.
The Residence Life staff has been working all spring and summer to make the reactions of arriving freshmen equally positive. Housewarming parties, complete with pizza and games, are planned for The Grove every night of Welcome Week, in addition to all the activities elsewhere on campus.
“This is a huge opportunity out here with four freshman residence halls set apart a little — not totally, but in their own area,” Verwey said. “We’re really trying to ramp up the first-year experience and make this a freshman destination.”
In case you were wondering how workers haul in and assemble more than 1,600 furniture items in about 10 days per residence hall, it’s pretty simple: They work hard.
“It’s brutal, sweaty, manual labor,” said Butch Glispie, owner of Pono Construction, which handles the campus projects.
The furniture pieces are hauled in by truck and then moved to the upper floors, if necessary, by elevator or forklift, Glispie said.
Signs of transformation are springing up all over campus. The newly sodded Quad looks as if the grass has been there a couple of years rather than a couple of weeks, and the new artificial turf intramural field in front of the Student Union is fully installed.
The walls around the new soccer stadium are up, and it won’t be long before that area is fully sodded for the first games in August. The actual stadium will come later.
Work on Lopes Way, the new restaurant row and eating area that will be in the heart of campus, also is well underway and on course for completion next month.
The finishing touches are being put on the new engineering building on Camelback Road, and the new office for Public Safety, which will be in the new Grove Garage next to The Grove residence halls, is scheduled to be open early next month.
Work will continue into the school year. The new pool and intramural fields at The Grove should be ready not long after classes begin, and preliminary work is beginning on the new four-story office building in the middle of campus.
Contact Rick Vacek at 602-639-8203 or [email protected]