University of Arkansas Named Developer of the Year
Construction totaling $480 million impacts 40 campus buildingsMonday, November 05, 2012
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – The University of Arkansas is growing at an unprecedented pace. To meet the needs of its expanding enrollment, the university is renovating, upgrading and expanding its facilities at an equally unprecedented pace. The campus construction didn’t go unnoticed by the Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce, which recently honored the U of A with the Albert M. Byrnes Developer of the Year Award.
“A first class university needs first class facilities. And excellent facilities are needed to support efforts to recruit high ability students from Arkansas, other states and other nations,” said Chancellor G. David Gearhart, who served as keynote speaker at the chamber’s annual Construction and Developers 2012 Appreciation Award Banquet. “I think once we get through this phase of construction we can truly say that we will have some of the best facilities of anybody, any university, anywhere.”
The university was recognized for not just building new facilities but for ensuring that its most iconic buildings continue to serve the campus for decades to come. The university is also redesigning, repurposing and redeveloping old and underused spaces. Approximately 1.5 million gross square feet have been impacted since July 2011, with project costs of $480 million affecting 40 buildings. When finished, these projects will include more than 1,000 new classroom seats, 630 new residence hall beds, 250 dining seats and a new 700-seat performing arts center.
“This award is recognition from the Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce that the University of Arkansas is a partner with them in building the community,” said Mike Malone, president and chief executive officer of the Northwest Arkansas Council. “There’s not a ‘town-gown’ split. We’re all in it together.”
Two recently completed projects were also honored with individual awards. The Jean Tyson Child Development Study Center was recognized with the Community Outreach Award while the Epley Center for Health Professions earned the Leader in Healthcare Award.
To create the Epley Center, the university renovated the former health center, transforming it into a 45,000-square-foot clinic, classroom and laboratory space for students majoring in communication disorders and nursing. The Jean Tyson Child Development Study Center is a new building that serves as a unified child development center and educational training facility. It provides educational and research opportunities for the campus community while meeting the childcare needs of more than 140 families from the campus and community.
“The university is definitely a catalyst, that’s why it’s being honored as the economic Developer of the Year,” said Steve Clark, president and CEO of the Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce. “The university makes things happen. There’s no question it impacts the area in so many ways. And as it continues to expand, the university’s impact will only grow in the future.”
The university has been able to produce architectural designs that marry the old with the modern, blend the man-made environment with nature, achieve sustainable goals and meet Chancellor Gearhart’s objective of creating a “great first impression.” The new Pi Beta Phi Gate is a great example. Designed to blend with older structures in the area, the new $1.2 million gate enhances a major entrance to the historic core of campus near Old Main, the university’s oldest building, finished in 1875. Constructed of limestone, native Arkansas stones and wrought iron, the Pi Beta Phi Gate is 120 feet long and 30 feet tall at its highest point.
In addition to the Developer of the Year Award, 10 individual projects were honored by the Chamber of Commerce.
Mark Rushing, director of strategic communications
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