News Ticker

UA Evaluates Capital Priorities for 2014-2016

By Eric Jay Toll for The Arizona Builder’s Exchange

In the third and final installment, AZBEX looks at the University of Arizona capital improvement plan and capital development plan approved by the Arizona Board of Regents on September 27th. ASU was covered on October 2nd and Northern Arizona University was highlighted in the October 5th issue.   

UofA Resets its Capital Priorities

Five new buildings – including one at the Phoenix College of Medicine campus – are on the University of Arizona Capital Development Program (CDP) list for the next three years. A combined student recreation playfield and parking structure, renovations and expansion of the chemistry building, and improvements to McKale Memorial Center are also anticipated capital projects. Building out 34K SF of shell space in the Phoenix Health Sciences Education Building (HSEB) is also being considered.

University officials told AZBEX on October 8th that the priorities UofA’s new president, Ann Weaver Hart, is working through a stack of assignments—including a review of capital project priorities. With Dr. Hart taking the helm in August, the university had not finished the prioritizations in time for ABOR’s September meeting. The Board gave Arizona until its December meeting to complete its review. In a 2008 op-ed in the Tucson Citizen, former UofA President Robert Shelton projected that the university needed $337M in “immediate capital construction.” Campus building infrastructure improvements and upgrades totaling $54M are the only projects with a price tag, and were approved by ABOR at the meeting. The university is working to prioritize and price its remaining capital projects.

Priorities and estimated costs are still under review by the President’s office. UA sent a list of its major projects to ABOR, but the alphabetical list is not based on either cost or priority. Not included in its list to the regents, the school also stated its intent to “urgently pursue” funding for critical life-safety building maintenance needs. UA officials told ABOR, “After years with no State Building Renewal funding, many of the University’s facilities have fallen into a serious state of disrepair. It is critical that a significant portion of the University’s life/safety building maintenance improvement needs are soon addressed.”

There is significant public-private housing development occurring in and around the campus. The university does not list these joint efforts in its CDP because they are privately funded and do not impact university borrowing capacity.


Project Name Project Description
ABC II Building – Phoenix We have a map of the biomedical campus with this bldg identified! The Arizona Biomedical Collaborative Phase II (ABC II) Building provides additional research laboratory and service space to support expansion of the medical school program. The ABCII building will be connected to ABCI, and will share core laboratories, imaging, and a vivarium. The Phoenix Biomedical Campus is located on approximately 15 acres provided by the City in the heart of downtown Phoenix. This academic health center campus serves a key role in addressing Arizona’s shortage of physicians, pharmacists, and other health care professionals.

AHSC Bio-Education/ Translational Science Building

This proposed project would be a state-of-the-art, multidisciplinary, inter-professional education and simulated practice building for medical, nursing, pharmacy, and public health education. With its close proximity to core multidisciplinary research buildings, it would foster transdisciplinary collaborations and serve as a unique place for productive interactions between multidisciplinary teams of health professionals, students and faculty. In addition to flexible large, medium and small group / team learning areas, the facility will include a state-of-the-art clinical skills and simulation center to provide health care simulation for a broad spectrum of instruction and application.

AHSC Bio-Health/Life Building

The Bio-Health/Life Building will provide critically needed office space for clinicians practicing in Bio-Health and supporting the research endeavors occurring in our core research facilities such as the Bio-5 building.
Bioscience Research Labs — Building 2 A research facility that will bring together the University’s basic scientists and physician researchers for collaborative translational research that will advance our understanding of the molecular basis of human health, aging and disease. This building will provide cutting-edge laboratories for pioneering, interdisciplinary research in many health science disciplines relevant to the people of Arizona, and will increase competitiveness and research grant revenues as needed to achieve the goals of the Arizona Higher Education Enterprise Plan Goals.
Campus Infrastructure Additional campus infrastructure improvements will be needed to support existing, new and renovated facilities. The Comprehensive Campus Plan stresses the need for continued utility distribution extensions and surface infrastructure improvements to accommodate system growth, efficiency and reliability across campus.
Centennial Hall Renovations This renovation and expansion will address this historic building’s most critical needs. The renovations will improve seating, sight lines, acoustics, sound systems and point of sale opportunities, and will increase the number of restrooms. This project will also prioritize future improvement opportunities for the consideration of potential donors.

Chemistry Building Renovation & Addition

This major renovation and addition is needed to address critical Chemistry Department space deficiencies and make more efficient use of this important historic building. Years of incremental additions and high-tech lab adaptations have overburdened this 75 year-old building, rendering portions of it unusable. This project would replace some portions of the building with new lab space, and renovate the most historic portions to accommodate supporting office and classroom needs. All major building systems of this historic structure require significant upgrades or replacement.
Health Sciences Education Building – Phoenix – Finish Shell Space This project builds out 34,000 square feet of the existing shell space at the Health Sciences Education Building at the University of Arizona College of Medicine-Phoenix campus. The built-out space will include an expanded Simulation Center on Floors 3 and 4 and office and administrative support space on the 5th floor. The Simulation Centers incorporate triage, emergency room and operating room simulation that are used to identify and commence treatment and stabilization on simulated patients. Through the utilization of sophisticated simulators that combine “high tech” with “real world” responses, the Center simulates medical conditions and employs interactive activities to repeat these procedures until the desired response becomes second nature.
Land Acquisition Real estate within the designated university planning area is limited; therefore acquisition of properties as they become available is critical to accommodate future growth.
Mathematics/Physics Building Replacement The existing Math Building is in poor structural condition and slated for future demolition. This proposed new facility will consolidate Math and Physics programs for efficient growth and utilization of this important central-campus location.

McKale Memorial Center Improvements

The ICA Master Plan identifies the refurbishment and expansion of McKale Memorial Center as a top priority to improve the fan experience, ensure that critical student athlete needs are met, and remain competitive in both game day events and recruitment offerings. This project would include improved offices, lockers, academic areas, basic fan amenities and services, and building access, within an aging facility.

South Stadium Parking Structure/Student Recreation Playing Field

This proposed project includes a practice and playing field and parking garage in the south area of the main campus adjacent to the existing Student Recreation Center. The field will accommodate both intramural and club sports, and will make an existing field available to the Women’s Soccer Team as required by Title IV. The parking structure will accommodate approximately 900 greatly needed parking spaces.
UAPD Emergency Response Facility The University of Arizona Police Department (UAPD) has outgrown its current facilities and needs additional accommodations to better assure campus security and safety. This secure, state-of-the-art emergency operations center will manage, coordinate and direct critical incidents and events, and provide needed UAPD training and conference space.


The legislature is going to be reviewing $375M in capital projects sent over by the Arizona Board of Regents (ABOR) for fiscal years 2014 through 2016. The largest request, $250M came from ASU with $70M from NAU.  The University of Arizona asked for $54 in maintenance and renovation requests for 2013-14. This amount will be bumped after the December ABOR meeting. The UofA was given additional time for its CIP and CDP priorities to allow its new president time to participate in the process.

To meet growth projections and replacement of aging buildings, ABOR developed the SPEED program—the Stimulus Plan for Economic and Education Development. Issuing $1.4B in bonds is necessary to finance immediately needed construction at the three schools. The Board projected that once construction was underway, as many as 30,000 direct construction and spin-off jobs would be created.