New Construction

University of Arizona Breaks Ground on $85M Research Facility

The University of Arizona in Tucson, Ariz., recently broke ground on a new Applied Research Building. The three-story, 89,000-square-foot facility will bring together eight departments from four colleges (the College of Engineering, the College of Science, the James C. Wyant College of Optical Sciences and the College of Medicine-Tucson) for a cost of $85 million. The building is expected to open to students by spring 2023.

Amenities within the facility will include a thermal vacuum chamber to simulate space environmental conditions, an anechoic chamber to absorb reflections and electromagnetic waves to test antennas, a high bay lab for high-altitude balloons, and a dynamic testing lab for large objects. The building will not include classroom space, but undergraduate and graduate students are welcome to use the building for research purposes.

“The co-location of multiple, interrelated research programs will create a hub that enables new opportunities for the Fourth Industrial Revolution research that will help the university to recruit and retain recognized faculty, as well as increase federal and industry funding,” said University of Arizona President Robert C. Robbins. “The ARB will focus on expanding several areas of research that have resulted in the university being ranked among the top 100 research institutions in the world.”

The facility will provide space for research projects like nanosatellites that lessen the cost of going to space; the UA Imaging Technology Laboratory, featuring advanced sensors for astronomy research, satellite images, and chemical analysis; 3D printing facilities for aerospace parts; and stratospheric balloons for use on earth and, potentially, other planets.

“From the College of Engineering’s perspective, the timing of this building is ideal,” said David Hahn, dean of the College of Engineering. “As we compete with other top universities for talent, like faculty talent and student talent, it’s this type of facility that will allow us to improve those efforts and, in fact, beat out other universities for the very best students and the very best faculty.”

The university is partnering with the McCarthy Building Companies and SmithGroup construction firms for design and construction. The project will also entail realigning the nearby Highland Underpass.

About the Author

Matt Jones is senior editor of Spaces4Learning. He can be reached at [email protected].