Northern Arizona University’s two spectacular new buildings will be dedicated this month.

The Business Administration and the Engineering buildings will be dedicated during a joint ceremony and open house beginning at 3 p.m. April 21 in the South Campus Quad area between the buildings. A reception will follow the dedication.

The innovative structures, which opened for classes in January, were designed to create a sense of community among students, faculty and staff. They are part of NAU’s vision for the future, which includes:

  • McKay Village, multiuse luxury student housing, scheduled for opening in summer 2006
  • a central campus parking garage, 900 spaces, fall 2006
  • the Applied Research and Development building, high-performance sustainable building, spring 2007
  • a science laboratory, 80,000 square feet, spring 2007
  • a hotel/conference center and parking garage, contract still under consideration

The Business Administration building’s “mission driven” architecture has a number of distinctive features designed to promote interaction, including wide, cushioned stairwells that encourage casual conversations on its steps, flexible seating that allows students to configure their desks to promote working together in groups, and faculty offices close to classrooms.

“The CBA has always been a place where relationships matter,” says CBA Dean Mason Gerety. “Now for the first time we have a facility that matches our mission.”

Several of the building’s features were designed to extend student learning time in a more casual environment. Thirteen “front porches” outside classrooms give students a place to gather to plug-in their laptops and view their work on 24-inch LCD screens. Faculty can also use this space to continue their lectures or answer student questions, freeing up the classroom for the next class to begin.

The new building has about 110,000 square feet with about 30,000 dedicated to flexible student breakout space.

With the opening of the new Engineering building, students enter a newly renovated structure with state-of-the-art electronics and room for research, student-faculty interaction and socializing.

“This wonderful new facility provides an environment for learning in engineering that matches the quality of the instructional program,” says Laura Huenneke, dean of the College of Engineering and Natural Sciences. “Having cutting-edge labs and technology is crucial to providing the kinds of student experiences needed to prepare for technical careers, and now we have that capacity.”

The project added 20,000 square feet to the original 70,000 square feet. However, the building was virtually demolished down to the walls and floors. The front was even shorn off to create huge atrium with large windows that ensure increased natural lighting and give passers-by the opportunity to see all the activity within the building.

The atrium provides 24-hour access to students and has a kiosk with food, soft drinks and coffee.