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Gould Evans Puts Finishing Touches on ASU's Polytechnic campus Student Union


October 11, 2004

PHOENIX, Ariz. - The bookshelves are stocked, the game room is packed and the food court is bustling with the sounds of incoming students hungry to check out the new Arizona State University's Polytechnic campus Student Union in southeast Mesa.

The ASU's Polytechnic campus Student Union is open for business. This 27,000 square-foot structure is the first public-use building on campus that has been constructed from the ground up. Many of the existing buildings have been renovated to accommodate the needs of a growing campus.

ASU's Polytechnic campus is quickly transforming into a polytechnic campus, offering technical and professional baccalaureate and master's degree programs. The goal of the Student Union project was to create a place where students and faculty can meet, relax and prepare for classes; the end result being an easy transition from commuter school to full-service college campus.

"It's very important to have a sense of community for students on a college campus and we feel this building has met all of our expectations," said Michael Mader, director of the ASU's Polytechnic campus Student Union. "We have already experienced the students and faculty enjoying the union and all the wonderful amenities."

The design of the Student Union was carefully developed to allow for future expansion. This building is phase one of an ongoing project. The proximity of the campus to other entities on the Williams Campus created the need for flexible spaces for students, faculty, staff and businesses occupying the campus.

"The ASU's Polytechnic campus Student Union has served as a catalyst in transforming a once functioning air force base into a thriving university setting," stated Tom Reilly, project manager and associate vice president, Gould Evans. "It has truly been an incredible experience to create the primary 'hub' for a growing, thriving campus."

To make the most of the budget and ambitious goals, Gould Evans worked closely with ASU's Polytechnic campus to develop a design with overlapping functions, making generous use of exterior spaces, allowing the building to appear bigger than its relatively small footprint.

Expansive glass walls, carefully shaded to prevent direct sunlight from entering the building, invite students into the union with generous views of the activity inside. Large overhead garage-type doors connect the interior and shaded exterior dining areas during much of the school year, and a covered exterior lobby extends the use of a large banquet facility, seating 350-banquet style and 550-theatre style. The bookstore, located at the main entry, includes another overhead door that can be opened for outdoor patio sales and during the "rush" season at the beginning and end of each semester.

At night, the glass walls take on another look - the lighted interior becomes a welcoming beacon on the campus - inviting students to come in for a snack, a game of pool or air hockey, a chance to watch a movie on a projection TV in the dining area, or surf the Internet by taking advantage of the wireless network throughout the building.

In addition to ASU's Polytechnic campus's need for a multi-functional space and new image for an emerging campus, the building design was driven by its relationship to the surrounding environment. The union was sited to act as an anchor for a future pedestrian mall and plaza space. As the campus grows the union will be the centerpiece where all student activity converges.

The building meets the needs identified by students early on in the design process and is one of the first steps in moving the campus forward to becoming a university destination: a place for studying, learning and living.

ASU's Polytechnic campus Student Union grand opening dedication is October 14, 2004.