September 09, 2008

New buildings accommodate student success, growth

Posted: September 09, 2008
One of three new academic buildings at the Polytechnic campus.

Students attending classes this fall at the Polytechnic campus will have the privilege of being the first to benefit from the new equipment and labs and use the latest technology available in the three new academic complexes completed in June.

The complexes include Peralta, Picacho, Santan and Santa Catalina halls and the Applied Arts Pavilion. Aravaipa Auditorium is the only existing structure from the campus’s military days that was incorporated into the new buildings. It will provide seating for more than 500 people.

Together these edifices have transformed the landscape of the campus and are the homes for the deans offices, new classroom and instructional lab space, faculty offices, a lecture hall, a dance studio and a black box theater with an outdoor amphitheater adjacent to it.

“The new 245,000 square feet of academic space nearly doubles our classroom and lab space, allowing us to offer more sections and lower-division classes, so more students can get classes in the most desirable time of the day,” said Keith Hjelmstad, university vice president and dean of the College of Technology and Innovation. “Enrollment has grown between 25 to 35 percent each fall at the campus. By offering more classes and sections, we are able to maintain ideal classroom environments for our teaching.”

Students majoring in the sciences also will have new chemistry, microbiology and molecular biology labs, and a fully-functioning anatomy lab, all of which were not available before. Additionally, engineering studios and new education labs provide room for students to learn in a hands-on environment.

ASU intends to seek LEED® (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification for building expansion. The LEED® Green Building Rating System™, developed by the U.S. Green Building Council, encourages the adoption of sustainable green building and development practices through the creation and implementation of universally understood and accepted tools and performance criteria.

“ASU is committed to reducing its carbon footprint and creating sustainable environments for its students,” said Todd Raven, project manager for ASU’s Polytechnic campus. “We are seeking LEED®-NC Silver certification, but the project may qualify for Gold.”

One of the LEED features includes the use of solar energy to power the Team Room in the icon tower on Santan Hall. The transparent solar panels also act as a protective cover over the observation deck in the icon tower, allowing views of solar cell components.

None of this could be possible without the state legislature appropriating money to fund the debt service on $103 million in 2006, and the help of the architect of record RSP Architects, the design architect Lake/Flato and construction manager/general contractor DPR Construction, Inc.

In addition to a changed landscape, some students will be welcomed by new deans – Craig Thatcher in the School of Applied Arts and Sciences and Keith Hjelmstad in the College of Technology and Innovation.

On Sept. 11, a building opening and new leadership welcome are planned at the Polytechnic campus. For information, contact Beverly at (480) 727-1665.

Chris Lambrakis, lambrakis@asu.edu
(480) 727-1173
Public Affairs at ASU Polytechnic campus