UA's $57M 'Success District' Aims to Support Students

Tue June 18, 2019 - West Edition #13
Lori Tobias – CEG CorrespondEnt


Work in the Main Library involves removing a heavy low concrete overhang at the building front door in order to create a more welcoming two-story glass lobby and entry, as well as a new floor opening to create a connection between floors using a stepped-wood seating area and stair.
(University of Arizona photo)
Work in the Main Library involves removing a heavy low concrete overhang at the building front door in order to create a more welcoming two-story glass lobby and entry, as well as a new floor opening to create a connection between floors using a stepped-wood seating area and stair. (University of Arizona photo)
Work in the Main Library involves removing a heavy low concrete overhang at the building front door in order to create a more welcoming two-story glass lobby and entry, as well as a new floor opening to create a connection between floors using a stepped-wood seating area and stair.
(University of Arizona photo)  The $57 million project integrates the Main Library, the Albert B. Weaver Science-Engineering Library and Bear Down Gymnasium and includes the Student Success building, to be constructed immediately south of Bear Down.
(University of Arizona photo)

Future students at the University of Arizona will reap the benefits of an area designed purely to ensure their achievement. Work began earlier this year on the Tucson campus of the Student Success District, a project that entails connecting three existing buildings and constructing one new building.

The $57 million project integrates the Main Library, the Albert B. Weaver Science-Engineering Library and Bear Down Gymnasium and includes the Student Success building, to be constructed immediately south of Bear Down. Renovations also are planned for the other buildings in the district.

"The Student Success District is a collaboration among several University of Arizona departments and programs, and is being developed to create an integrative approach to supporting student achievement by weaving together revitalized services in new and upgraded facilities," said Debra Johnson, UA assistant director for design and project manager for the Student Success District.

"The intent of creating this district is to improve student success through direct connections between student services, academic support, and amenities in the heart of campus near other important student-centered activities. When fully realized, the Student Success District will be a distinctive element of the UA experience, supporting student engagement and playing an important role in attracting and retaining students."

The Student Success Building will be a poured-in-place concrete building with metal panels and storefront glazing and single-ply roofing. The intent is to construct a facility using standard materials that are durable and maintainable for a building that will provide years of service, Johnson said.

Work in the Main Library involves removing a heavy low concrete overhang at the building front door in order to create a more welcoming two-story glass lobby and entry, as well as a new floor opening to create a connection between floors using a stepped-wood seating area and stair.

In the Weaver Science-Engineering Library, a new lobby and stair will be added on the east side to introduce a new entry in the heart of the District and create more architectural interest in what is currently a blank five-story brick wall.

The new Student Success Building will feature a connection to the Bear Down Gym via a physical bridge and through programmatic integration between the two facilities. The gym will undergo transformational design to spatially interconnect the three stories of student-centered services, programs and activity spaces.

In addition to the collaborative learning spaces, the district will include tutoring services, health and well-being resources, and cutting-edge technology that will enable students to collaboratively design and fabricate physical and digital creations as part of the learning process.

While there are numerous challenges, most are common to a project of this scale.

"Projects of this scale on a University campus always have many challenges, such as coordination of multiple University clients, stakeholders and units; a tight construction site; working in occupied buildings on a busy campus; transforming an historic building; and navigating through years of underground utility development," Johnson said. "The University is using the design-build design and construction delivery method, and the design-build team is implementing a thoroughly developed plan."

The University is aspiring to gain LEED Silver certification with sustainability goals on numerous levels. In addition to the contributions the project will make, it also will benefit from resources such as connectivity to a central plant for efficient use of utilities, access to alternative modes of transportation and campus recycling programs.

Equipment on site includes a tower crane, concrete pumps, concrete trucks, an excavator, loader, backhoe, forklift, dump trucks, drill rig, mobile crane and a skid steer.

Completion is scheduled for October 2021 with intermediate occupancies occurring as each component is completed.

CEG