The exterior staircase connects each floor, a variety of programs and an urban quad on the third level. The staircase is divided by a water-wall fountain and reflecting pool and also provides a front door from College Avenue to the School of Construction.

Each stair tread was individually formed by hand. The formed-concrete method had been standard in buildings in the Southwest in previous decades. Okland Construction self-performed the elements.

"This project is also bringing back some of the old workmanship pieces," Reilly says. "We are proving that it can still be pulled off."

Tyler Smith, project manager for Okland Construction, also happens to be a graduate of the construction school. He says the project is memorable for him and scores of his classmates at the school because it means that future students will have many more amenities and tools available to them.

"It's like night and day," Smith says of the old facilities versus the new building.

Allan D. Chasey, the school's program chair and Sundt professor of alternative delivery and sustainable development, says the new facility will engage both students and faculty.

"We are really excited about being able to use these sorts of things," Chasey says.

He says that now the school will be able to expand, thereby increasing its impact as a construction training venue. The new facility will allow the construction school to double its enrollment to more than 500 students in the near future. "And from an industry standpoint, we want them now," Chasey says.