Story by Lana Sweeten-Shults
Photos by David Kadlubowski
GCU News Bureau
The Lopes are rising – and so are the facilities that will house and serve them, including (wait for it) a much longed-for Taco Bell, set to go into Thunder Alley, and new field-level seats at Brazell Field at GCU Ballpark that will put spectators up close to the action.
Construction on the Taco Bell, going into the area occupied by the Market Bistro and Zoyo Neighborhood Yogurt, will be underway any day and is expected to be completed in late September.
Further down the Promenade, the most visible construction project at the center of the Grand Canyon University campus is the new Lope Shop, which has vacated its previous location on Lopes Way and soon will occupy the old Fleming Building across from the Natural Sciences Building.
The retail store, where you can pick up as many GCU purple T-shirts as you want, will more than quintuple in size, going from 1,800 square feet to 9,500 (the staff is increasing, too, from 21 to 50) and will tout everything from a Nike concept store, to “college of” areas dedicated to specific colleges, a technology department, boutique, alumni and family section, a gift area and a women’s fashion section catered to staff and faculty.
Asbestos abatement on the structure wrapped up in May.
“As soon as that was done, demo started and was completed within a week,” Director of Campus Retail and Licensing Andy Dunn said. “Construction started in earnest last week and continues in full force.”
New plumbing and interior walls have been framed, and the new fire suppression system is being installed, Dunn said. Next up is to finish the new walls and start installing the new heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems.
Some of the brown brickwork of the Fleming Building will give way to full-height glass display windows, so visitors can expect to see a mix of modern and vintage in its design.
Cactus, Jerome apartments
Other construction projects are barreling along and set for completion by the time students return, particularly on the burgeoning east side of campus, where the new Cactus and Jerome Apartments are getting ready for a walk-through at the end of July.
They are both six-story, 600-plus-bed structures touting 242,105 square feet each. Each facility will offer two floor plans – the first is a four bedroom, two bathroom option for four students and a three-bedroom, two-bathroom option for three students. Both plans include a kitchen and communal living area.
Residence Life Director Matt Hopkins said, “Everything is still on schedule for early August.”
The addition of Cactus and Jerome will bring the number of dorms and apartments on campus to 20.
In 2017-2018, about 11,000 students made those facilities their home; this year, Hopkins said Residence Life is expecting about 12,000 to live in student housing.
Roughly 2,400 students are expected to call the east side of campus home, and they can expect to see more eateries popping up in their neighborhood, including Chick-fil-A, GCBC and Fresh Fusion, which will all settle into Diamondback Apartments on 29th Avenue, itself a new living facility opened to students in the 2017-18 school year.
Future students can look forward to even more apartment buildings slated to go up next to Cactus and Jerome in August 2019, and it looks like a pool is in the works for students on that side of campus.
- BRAZELL FIELD AT GCU BALLPARK, which made its debut in February, It’s getting a boost with the addition of 1,000 field-level seats on the first- and third-base side so spectators can watch the games up close and feel like they are part of the action. Temporary white seats in the grandstand also are being replaced.
- COLANGELO COLLEGE OF BUSINESS: Students arriving on campus this academic year also will see a new business college. The 150,348-square-foot, L-shaped structure is at the corner of Colter Street and 30th Drive. The first two floors are scheduled to be ready by August – students and faculty will soon settle into four lecture halls, classrooms and offices – and the top two floors should be finished by October.
- MISSOURI AVENUE PARKING GARAGE: The 2,400-space garage on the campus’ east side will include 2,000 spaces marked for students and the remaining 400 for business college faculty/staff, evening cohort students and Canyon Activities Center visitors. It is targeted for completion in August.
- CANYON ACTIVITIES CENTER: Another summertime project that’s going strong is the Canyon Activities Center, a 135,000-square-foot building touting 10 multipurpose courts. It also will be the home of the Thundering Heard Pep Band.
- PITA JUNGLE: The construction is humming and the hummus is on its way as Pita Jungle takes over the old Lope Shop location on Lopes Way.
- The COLLEGE OF FINE ARTS AND PRODUCTION, which peppered the campus in Ethington Theatre, the Colter office complex and the Media Arts Complex, will be consolidated in the old Colangelo College of Business building. The college’s dean, Claude Pensis, said faculty members have been packing up and readying for the move to the building in late July.
- THEOLOGY AND NURSING/HEALTH CARE PROFESSIONS: The two schools traded spaces earlier this summer. The College of Nursing and Health Care Professions faculty and students are looking forward to the completion of new lab spaces on the second and third floors of their new digs in the Natural Sciences Building. The College of Theology, meanwhile, is looking forward to the addition of a ministry lab to its new space in the old Nursing/Health Care Professions space next to GCU Arena.
You can reach GCU senior writer Lana Sweeten-Shults at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 602-639-7901. Follow her on Twitter @LanaSweetenShul.