Tucson Convention Center Capital Improvements


Award of Merit, Renovation/Restoration

Submitted By: Sundt Construction

Owner: Rio Nuevo Multipurpose District

Lead Design Firm: Swaim Associates Ltd.

General Contractor: Sundt + Concord

Civil/Structural Engineer: Grenier Engineering

MEP Engineer: GLHN Architects & Engineers

Architect: BWS Architects

Construction of two parking garages, new meeting space and other renovations at the Tucson Convention Center began in late 2019. Facility improvements included updates to the main ballroom and south exhibition hall, adding 32,000 sq ft of new meeting room space, updated restrooms and newly paved surface lots. Renovations were also made to the Linda Ronstadt Music Hall and Leo Rich Theater, featuring new seating, sound and AV systems.

The two new garages provide more than 1,000 spaces to the area. The first took just eight months to complete using precast concrete, while the second features cast-in-place concrete, as it was designed to accommodate future development on top.

Drone flights helped document existing conditions, construction progress and the layout of new utilities for as-built components. 

The project featured outdoor landscape improvements, including updates to outdoor fountains inspired by Sabino Canyon, a natural area attraction. After sitting empty for more than a decade, both fountains are now fully functional, use reclaimed water and are registered as a historic landmark.

Lean building techniques helped mitigate shipping delays and escalating costs. Initially the team used just-in-time deliveries, but as work progressed, this shifted to a first-available basis, and the team had to start storing supplies on site, especially electronic components. These strategies contributed to the project’s under-budget and on-time completion in August 2022.