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UA to add health sciences building and a parking garage to campus with future construction projects

Courtesy of The University of Arizona Health Sciences
An architectural rendering of the Health Sciences Innovation Building set to open in summer of 2018.

Major changes are coming to the landscape of the UA campus in the next few years with the construction of several new buildings.

The Arizona Board of Regents approved the UA’s Capital Development Plan, which included five previously approved projects totaling $341.7 million at their meeting last month.

Health Sciences gets a new building

The headliner of the project is a $165 million Health Sciences Innovation building, formerly called the Simulation Inter-Professional Healthcare Education and Research (SIPHER) building.

Site preparations began this week on the HSIB, located on the corner of Drachman Street and Cherry Avenue on the UA Health Sciences campus. Officials expect to complete construction by June 2018.

To watch a live stream of the construction, click here

The 212,000-square-foot building provides a space that brings together students, faculty and researchers from the health sciences professions under one roof. It will feature state-of-the-art simulated practice rooms where students can replicate situations in surgical and emergency rooms, as well as perform demonstrations with live patients.

“We do a great job within the facility that we have, said Michael Jonen, UA Health Sciences senior associate vice president for finance and strategy, “but I think in terms of just the overall footprint and some of the more kind of contemporary simulation training environments, the current facility just doesn’t have the capacity to deliver those experiences for students.”

Jonen said the HSIB will help break down some of the traditional barriers that the current health sciences buildings present.

“You look at our campus, there’s a College of Nursing building, there’s a College of Pharmacy building and there’s a College of Medicine building,” Jonen said. “And a lot of the educational curriculum, a lot of the collaborative work that goes on occurs within the four walls of those buildings.”

Peter Dourlein, assistant vice president for planning, design and construction, said the interaction will help attract the best and brightest health sciences students from Arizona and beyond.

“It helps to increase enrollment in health sciences.” Dourlein said. “It brings new talented faculty to the UA and supports retention of our most innovative faculty that are [already] here, so those are all really important things.”

Dourlein said he expects to see the health sciences area to show the most growth on campus over the next 20 years because that’s where much of the university’s research takes place.

He added that the cost of the building — paid for with system revenue bonds — will not lead to an increase in tuition.

“The fact that the university is growing, that means more tuition is coming in, and so as more students come in and more tuition comes in, you have to use some of that money to expand the facilities,” Dourlein said.

PTS to build new Arizona Stadium garage

UA Parking and Transportation Services is currently finalizing a schedule and design for an $18.5 million parking garage south of Arizona Stadium on Sixth Street and Warren Avenue, next to the Campus Recreation Center. Once the project is approved, Dourlein said construction should take less than a year to complete.

Executive Director of PTS David Heineking said the garage, paid for with PTS auxiliary funds, will help replace parking spaces lost to new buildings across campus over the years thanks to a rapidly growing population.

“We’re not adding to our total number of parking from a couple years ago, but as we’ve lost spaces, this will just be a replacement of those spaces,” Heineking said.

The South Stadium parking garage will be proportionally similar to Main Gate garage, holding nearly one thousand spaces, Heineking said. He added that he expects the garage to be used heavily for football and basketball game days, as well as by students living south of campus.

The three other projects approved are currently on hold. They include a $16 million in infrastructure improvements to two central plant systems north of Speedway Boulevard, construction of a $63 million Engineering Innovation building, and a $79.2 million renovation and expansion of the Old Chemistry building.

Dourlein said the UA wants to preserve the Old Chemistry building, completed in 1936. He said the university would like to put offices and classrooms in the building’s most historic front half and tear down the back half to build a new high-tech lab tower.

“The building has just been overburdened with more modern systems and more modern needs, the research labs and all that, and it’s just an old building,” Dourlein said.

Follow Michael Hernandez on Twitter.

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