New Phoenix Arena Helps Revitalize Grand Canyon University
This $40.3-million arena was designed as the keystone project in the redevelopment of a for-profit campus emerging from bankruptcy. Thanks to the success of this and other campus improvements, the Grand Canyon University became the fastest-growing higher educational institution in Arizona.
School leaders wanted to have a facility that would be both a calling card for the university and that would support the sports program's eventual move from NCAA Division 2 to Division 1.
But the venue isn't just for athletics, says Anton Foss, project design principal with Architekton|360. "The arena was designed to transform from an intense collegiate basketball court to a dramatic, intimate performing arts venue."
The highly flexible seating can accommodate as few as 500 people and as many as 5,000 for anything from Christian entertainment to sporting events.
The hybrid design helps bring some of the pageantry of traditional theater to the raucousness of the sporting events, says design principal John Kane. The seating bowl is slightly steeper than normal to give the fans more presence as the "sixth man" in basketball settings.
The arena is flooded with natural light for graduation events and converts to a black-box arrangement for concerts with multimedia light shows.
The project was built during a fast-track, 13-month schedule using phased permitting. "We were building the structure while the design was still being completed," says Tony Meyer, project manager for Tutor Perini. "Some parts of the facility were being tiled and painted while others were still in the early stages of construction."
One critical phase of construction included the erection of the steel roof structure, consisting of seven 194-ft-long, 60,000-lb steel trusses arranged 30 ft apart.
The gem-like shape of the structure has numerous leaning walls, none of which are plumb. BIM played a significant role, helping the project team come in on time and on budget.
"Accomplishing such a beautiful project in this short a time frame is really extraordinary," says one Best Projects judge.
Contractor: Tutor Perini Building Corp., Phoenix
Owner: Grand Canyon University, Phoenix
Lead Design: Architekton | 360, Tempe, Ariz.
Structural Engineer: Paragon Structural Design, Phoenix
Civil Engineer: Strand Associates, Phoenix
Mechanical: TDIndustries, Phoenix
Electrical: Cannon & Wendt Electric Co., Phoenix
Metal Product installer: Kovach Inc., Phoenix
Submitted by Architekton | 360
Award of Merit, Sports/Entertainment: Salvation Army Ray & Joan Kroc Corps Community Center S. Mountain