New, renovated buildings open for academic year

Health and Learning Center

Health and Learning Center

Liberal Arts building

Liberal Arts Building

Hotel and Restaurant Management

Hotel Restaurant Management

Students returning to Northern Arizona University this fall will find expanded services, renovated classrooms and enhanced learning opportunities on the Flagstaff campus as multiple construction projects reach completion.

The updates to aging structures included updates to fire and life/safety standards, and construction of new buildings are a result of forward-thinking private individuals, university leadership and local, state and federal officials who pursued critical construction projects during this difficult economic time, said NAU President John Haeger.

Funding for the construction projects was received through private partnerships, student fees, federal grants and bonding authority approved by the 2009 Arizona Legislature.

“Northern Arizona University was able to perform much-needed renovations and build new buildings to keep up with the increasing student population on the Flagstaff campus,” Haeger said. “These construction projects have provided a positive contribution to our local and state economy by keeping Arizona construction companies at work during the massive slowdown that has occured in their industry.”

NAU’s School of Hotel and Restaurant Management will reopen for classes next week after major renovations reshaped the Inn at NAU into new interactive classrooms and lab space. The Liberal Arts building will boast a new auditorium, updated classrooms and common areas, upgraded fire and life/safety features and enhanced access for individuals with disabilities.

The Walkup Skydome is undergoing its first major renovation since it was constructed in 1977 and is slated to reopen for the Lumberjacks’ first home football game of the season on Sept. 10 against Ft. Lewis.

Renovations of the School of Hotel and Restaurant Management, the Liberal Arts building, the Skydome, the North Union and North Plant were approved through a 2009 state initiative known as SPEED that was comprised of 80 percent Arizona Lottery funds and 20 percent university funds.

The Health and Learning Center, a remodel and expansion of the existing recreation center, has opened to students, faculty and staff. The center is the largest construction project in university history and primarily was funded by multiyear student-approved fees. The 272,000-square-foot building offers student and employee wellness and recreation facilities, computer labs, classrooms, office space for coaching staff and locker rooms for several NCAA athletic teams. Also included in the project was renovation of Max Spilsbury Field and Lumberjack Stadium, originally built in 1960.

Mountain Link bus service on the new north-south transit spine will commence service Monday, Aug. 29, between downtown Flagstaff, the NAU campus and the Woodlands Village business district. Construction of the transit spine and operation of the bus service was made possible through collaboration with the Northern Arizona Intergovernmental Public Transportation Authority, the city of Flagstaff and the university and funded through a grant from the Federal Transit Authority.

The Native American Cultural Center, a new building set for completion in October and partly funded by private donations, will host Native American Student Services, study and meeting areas and a gathering room.

Several construction projects will continue on campus through the fall, including two privately funded residence halls on Hilltop Field and south of McConnell Drive and a new parking structure in the footprint of the former Fronske Health Center. The residence halls and new parking structure are set to be complete in August 2012.

To view updated maps of construction on campus, visit the Capital Assets website.