By Roland Murphy for Arizona Builder’s Exchange
National healthcare educator A.T. Still University has progressed in its efforts to expand its Mesa campus (AZBEX, April 5, 2016). The city Planning and Zoning Board conditionally approved the university’s Planned Area Development modification and site plan review request at its July 20 meeting.
ATSU’s campus in the Arizona Health & Technology Park at East Baseline and South Recker roads currently has four buildings totaling 195KSF. The expansion plan seeks to create a new 122KSF academic building and three-story, 998-space parking garage. The garage was originally planned for 1,064 spaces, but underwent a slight redesign to accommodate concerns from area residents.
It was originally reported ATSU and developer The Alter Group hoped to break ground next Spring. That timeline is no longer valid, according to several sources familiar with the project, and no new schedule has been proposed.
“The timeline is very uncertain at the moment,” said Charlie Henry, Alter’s VP of development. “We’re 99.9 percent through the entitlement process. The school has, so far, elected to defer a decision on when to proceed with the construction documents. Obviously, it’s a pretty long timeline to complete the construction documents and go through the appropriating process. We’re a good ways out.”
Gary Cloud, the school’s VP for university partnerships, said there is no intent to move ahead with construction in the immediate future.
“ATSU is only evaluating the potential to expand. It doesn’t have a timeline. We know that growth is somewhere in the future of the organization, and we’re in the midst of evaluating and preparing for that potential,” said Cloud. He added the planning and entitlement steps undertaken so far were so the university would be prepared if it ultimately decided to pursue the project.
The new building proposal lists plans to incorporate a contemporary style compatible with the site’s current structures in terms of architecture and coloring.