Northern Arizona University broke ground on a new health and learning center, which will provide a range of health and counseling services, recreation space, classrooms and the Lumberjack Stadium for track and soccer teams and locker rooms. The 270,000-sq.-ft., $79.1-million facility is the largest project undertaken at NAU and was designed by the Phoenix office of OWP/P I Cannon Design. Mortenson Construction is the construction manger for the project.

The facility will seek LEED gold, and is expected to be completed by Fall 2011. The health and learning center, located close to residence halls, the bookstore, and dining facilities, is an important step in bringing together student services now spread across five aging and antiquated buildings. The new facility will respond to the increasing demand for services at the university, and reflects a growing trend on campuses to integrate student life programs. Surveys showed strong support for the new center’s health services from parents and for new and expanded recreation space among students. The new center is designed to reduce the building’s carbon footprint by 50%. Prominent environmental features include a 45% reduction in potable water usage, the installation of 100 solar thermal panels on the building’s roof and efficient mechanical equipment including heat recovery.