Four more res halls, other buildings slated for 2015

By Michael Ferraresi
GCU News Bureau 

After the Papago Apartments, Ocotillo Hall and Mesquite Apartments open this fall, Grand Canyon University officials will focus on building a series of six-story residence halls to provide as many as 3,000 more beds on the Phoenix campus by the 2015-16 school year.

On Thursday, GCU President and CEO Brian Mueller announced those construction plans, and others — including the vision for a new building to host academic programs of the College of Science, Engineering and Technology — during the University’s 2014 second-quarter earnings conference call.

Mueller also said GCU's plans to develop a campus in the East Valley will be put on hold until 2016 in order to meet student demand and infrastructure needs on the main campus.

Nearly 6,400 of the anticipated 11,000 ground campus students are expected to be living on GCU’s main campus this fall, Mueller said.

“The student demand for what we’re doing here on the Phoenix campus is so great, investing those funds here is the most expeditious use of our capital expenditure money right now,” said Mueller, noting GCU had to turn away some students for the upcoming school year because there weren’t enough beds to house them on campus.

As GCU increases its focus on STEM programs, student demand is expected to intensify. GCU has launched undergraduate programs in computer science and information technology for the fall, while engineering programs are in development for 2015. Those programs also will be a focal point on the East Valley campus.

“We remain committed to the East Valley and still plan to build out a large campus that will be STEM-oriented,” Mueller said. “More and more East Valley families are recognizing the tremendous value our degree programs carry.”

This month, GCU will open three new residence halls on the east side of campus, bringing the total number of dormitory buildings to 11. Papago Apartments has 928 beds, with private four- and two-bedroom units that provide kitchens and other amenities, such as fitness rooms and a new swimming pool.

Ocotillo Hall, on the far northeast corner of campus, is designed like adjacent Saguaro Hall, though it will house as many as 653 students (compared with Saguaro’s 614), mostly freshmen, in the fall.

Mesquite Apartments (formerly Colter Meadows), located on Colter Street at 30th Drive, was purchased by GCU earlier this year to relieve the housing shortage. They have been refurbished and will be a gated part of the campus.

In addition to those projects, which will be completed this month, the following projects are in the works for 2015:

  • The northwest corner of campus will house four six-story residence halls. Rich Oesterle, who oversees campus development, said the razing of the Quatros housing complex that formerly was on that site is nearly completed. The area will be used for surface parking during Welcome Week later in August. Construction of the new dorms will begin in October, Oesterle said, and surface parking will be moved to other sites as needed.
  • A second parking garage will open on the western edge of campus along 35th Avenue by the end of August. Construction of a third garage, with nearly 2,400 parking spots, is expected to begin on the old Quatros site during Christmas break and be open by fall 2015. All told, the three garages, including the existing structure on Camelback Road, will provide more than 5,300 covered parking spots.
  • Two classroom buildings will be built on the parking lot near Ethington Theatre and facing Camelback Road. The first is an 80,000-square-foot building for the College of Science, Engineering and Technology. The other will be a 50,000-square-foot general classroom building that will house a new recording studio on the fourth floor for the new Center for Worship Arts.

Contact Michael Ferraresi at 602.639.7030 or [email protected].

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