New Construction

UArizona Constructing Flexible Research Spaces for Interdisciplinary Projects

University of Arizona broke ground this week on its new Grand Challenges Research Building, a 115,000-square-foot facility that will house a variety of labs, offices and flexible research spaces.

"Grand Challenges" refers to the second pillar of UArizona's five-pillared "living" strategic plan. The Grand Challenges pillar involves "tackling society’s biggest challenges by enabling discoveries that will fundamentally shape the future."

To that end, the new seven-story building will will serve a wide range of functions. According to UArizona, the ground floor will include "public spaces, study spaces and meeting rooms to support student engagement and instruction."

The three floors above that will include "laboratories and offices dedicated to faculty growth in the James C. Wyant College of Optical Sciences."

The remaining three floors will be "dedicated to research laboratories and offices for centers and cross-campus interdisciplinary programs, including the new Center for Quantum Networks, led by the College of Optical Sciences."

UArizona Constructing Flexible Research Spaces for Interdisciplinary Projects
Source: University of Arizona/ZGF Architects and BWS Architects.

The cost of the building was reported at $99 million. It will be connected to the Meinel Optical Sciences Building. Construction is expected to be completed by February 2024. Design is being handled by ZGF Architects and BWS Architects. Construction for the project is being handled by Kitchell Contractors, which was also "the contractor for the university's Health Science Innovation Building, a 220,000-square-foot building that opened in 2019," according to UArizona.

About the Author

David Nagel is editorial director of 1105 Media's Education Technology Group and editor-in-chief of THE Journal and STEAM Universe. A 29-year publishing veteran, Nagel has led or contributed to dozens of technology, art and business publications.

He can be reached at [email protected]. You can also connect with him on LinkedIn at or follow him on Twitter at @THEDavidNagel (K-12) or @CampusTechDave (higher education).


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