Construction employment is surging in the Southwest with nation-leading percentage increases. (See article by clicking here). And, the bounce will most certainly keep rising as there are new projects from Reno to Phoenix.
Also, the need to train new workers is well underway, as the Arizona Builders Association graduated a new class recently. You’ll find that and much more in this installment of the ENR Southwest Roundup blog.
Work underway on UNR building
It’s now “full speed ahead” on the University of Nevada, Reno’s College of Engineering building after Gov. Brian Sandoval recently signed off on the final portion of funding.
UNR officials say The William N. Pennington Engineering Building will make room for the fastest growing college on campus, now with more than 2,900 engineering students and nearly 90 faculty.
When completed in 2020, the $88 million, 90,000-sq-ft building will feature a clean room, over 40 faculty offices and laboratories, and a large-scale computer lab. As part of the department growth, UNR’s Mechanical Engineering building underwent a $14 million renovation last year.
Wynn gets sustainable designation
The Wynn Las Vegas has earned Four Green Globes for its dedication to creating and maintaining environmentally-friendly buildings, resort officials recently said.
A Green Globe is considered the highest certification given by the Green Building Initiative, a nonprofit organization. Inspectors reviewed performance metrics at both Wynn and Encore, covering energy use and efficiency, water conservation, heating and cooling, waste management and more.
As part of the on-site evaluation process, an independent third party inspected almost 8 million sq ft of facilities, including all common areas, guest rooms and suites, employee back-of-house areas, mechanical rooms and exterior spaces, Wynn officials said.
Phoenix Office Construction Booming
The Phoenix office market has reached over 2.7 million sq ft under construction, according to a recent report by JLL.
That’s the most since 2015, with over 30% pre-leased, JLL reported, adding that rates increased 6% to $27.12 per sq ft. Tempe’s submarket was the highest asking rate recorded.
While rapid growth is slowing, the Phoenix market hasn’t yet reached its peak, the firm said.
JLL reported that “solid fundamentals” held through the first half of 2018, as metro Phoenix experienced a 20th straight quarter of positive net absorption. JLL added this streak is projected to continue into the rest of this year.
Caesars Breaks Ground On Conference Center
Caesars Entertainment Corporation is building a 550,000 sq-ft conference center in Las Vegas, which will feature the two largest pillar-less ballrooms in North America, the company said in late July.  
When opened in 2020, the $375 million Caesars Forum will feature 300,000 sq ft of flexible meeting space equivalent to over five football fields, state-of-the-art boardrooms, conference space for more than 10,000 attendees and a 100,000-sq-ft outdoor plaza.
It will also be located east of the Las Vegas Strip with bridge connections to Harrah's, LINQ and the LINQ Promenade, according to Caesars.
Friedmutter Group is the project architect, while PENTA Building Group is handling general contractor duties
ABA Graduates more than two dozen
A prominent Arizona building group recently held its annual graduation ceremony for those in trades including electrical, heavy equipment operation and diesel mechanics.
The Arizona Builders Alliance/Associated General Contractors Education Fund honored 48 total graduating apprentices: 30 were from the electrical program, 12 were from the heavy equipment operators program and six from the heavy diesel mechanics program.
As the ceremony ended, Fred Ingersoll, vice president of training and development, said graduates Jeff Meador of Switch Electric, Chris Cramer of DP Electric, Jason Brown of Delta Diversified Electric and Lawrence Thompson of DP Electric will be return this fall as instructors.
The third annual GC Expo, described as a collaborative industry event, will take place Aug. 15 in Scottsdale.
The American Subcontractors Association of Arizona, Arizona Builders Alliance and Associated Minority Contractors of America are teaming up to offer general/specialty contractors to showcase their businesses and network.
According to organizers, and between 300 and 400 people are expected to attend the expo, while 30 to 40 firms are expected to participate.

The expo will be held at Embassy Suites Scottsdale Resort Conference Center, 5001 N. Scottsdale Road. Admission fees range from $50 to $100. For more information or to register, visit