A new multi-story building that will house food, water, and energy sustainability research has received funding approval from the Arizona Board of Regents.
The planned structure, officially called the Interdisciplinary Science and Technology 7 building, will go up on the Tempe campus of Arizona State University at the intersection of University Drive and Rural Road.
Work on the $192 million, triangle-shaped building could begin either later this year or early next year, with a hoped-for completion date of January 2022.
The structure has been in the talking and planning stage for the last two years.
The building will also uniquely feature balconies looking out over what is called an atrium biome populated with trees and bushes.
School officials have said that building materials used for the new structure will be designed to absorb carbon and convert it into nutrients that can be used to enrich the site’s soil.
Sewage from the building will be treated and recycled via a low-energy, bio-based system transforming it into greywater.
School officials say that the 258,000 square foot structure will serve as a gateway to the school’s growing Tempe campus.
Designed by the firm of Grimshaw Architects, which has offices in Los Angeles, the new building will also have lab space for biological sciences, engineering, and life sciences research.
By Garry Boulard
More than thirty airports in Arizona are getting funds from the federal Department of Transportation for new runway, taxiway, and apron rehabilitation projects.
The funding is part of a significantly larger $986 million being awarded for airport infrastructure projects nationally.
In a statement, Elaine Chao, Transportation Secretary, said the “infrastructure projects funded by these grants will advance safety, improve travel, generate jobs, and provide other economic benefits for local communities.
The grants are specifically coming through the Airport Improvement Program, which is a part of the Federal Aviation Administration.
The Arizona projects include a total of more than $32 million for various projects:
* Apron reconstruction and Voluntary Airport Low Emissions infrastructure work at the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport.
* The Tucson International Airport is getting a combined $22 million for two runway reconstruction projects, and both taxiway rehabilitation and reconstruction.
* A runway reconstruction project at the Window Rock Airport in the Navajo Nation capital of Window Rock is receiving $3.1 million in funding.
* The Buckeye Municipal Airport is getting nearly $1.7 million to rehabilitate an existing taxiway.
* The building of a new runway at the historic Falcon Field in Mesa, meanwhile, is receiving just over $1.2 million.
Smaller projects receiving funding include $555,000 for the building of new perimeter fencing at the Eric Marcus Municipal Airport in the town of Ajo, and nearly $204,000 for rehabilitating an apron at the Kayenta Airport in Navajo Nation town of Kayenta.
Funding for a project still in the preliminary planning stage is seeing the Glendale Municipal Airport getting $8.9 million to acquire land for upcoming runway construction work.
By Garry Boulard
Plans are in the works for the construction of a new women’s soccer training facility on the main campus of Colorado State University.
Early estimates indicate that the structure, which will also be shared by the women’s softball program, could cost as much as $6.5 million to build.
As planned the structure, which will go up east of the school’s Moby Arena, will house locker rooms, restrooms, team meeting space, and concessions.
A Request for Interest issued by the school also notes that the facility will include fan seating space.
In launching the preliminary stages of the project, school officials have approved spending $300,000 for a design and construction plan for the new facility.
That $300,000 will be paid for through an extension of a per semester student fee of just over five dollars. With a current enrollment of around 34,000 students, that works out to around $170,000 in revenue per semester.
The construction schedule for the new facility as outlined in the RFI document envisions a sixth-month design phase lasting until the fall of 2020, with actual construction beginning shortly afterwards and mostly likely wrapping by the summer of 2021.
By Garry Boulard
In a section of the city where homes regularly go for more than $350,000, plans have been approved for the construction of a new 30-luxury home subdivision.
Members of the Sedona City Council have given the green light to what is being called Hillside Vista Estates, a project that will see homes listed above $900,000.
As planned, a road called Hillside Vista Drive will slice through the oblong-shaped 32-acre subdivision, with 16 homes built to the north of that road and 14 to the south.
According to city documents, the subdivision will be laid out with an emphasis on open space, emphasizing the retention of such natural topographical features as vistas and slopes.
The homes themselves, each with their own distinctive shapes and dimensions, will be designed in a way that the developer says will make them compatible with the surrounding hillside.
Those custom-built homes will go up on lots ranging in size from 31,000 square feet to 61,000 square feet.
It is thought that work on the new subdivision, whose official address is 125 Bristlecone Pines Road, could begin in the latter part of next year.
By Garry Boulard
Officials with the federal Department of the Interior, in a coordinated effort with the Department of Education, have announced a renewed pitch to increase broadband access in Indian Country.
As part of a two-day National Tribal Broadband Summit just concluded in Washington, administration officials said the need for broadband access on tribal lands remains pressing.
“For too long, the status quo has hamstrung our Native communities from accessing global markets, engaging in e-commerce or providing quality health care and education to American Indians and Alaska Natives,” remarked Tara Katuk MacLean Sweeney, assistant secretary for Indian Affairs with the Interior Department.
The assistant secretary added that through collaborative efforts with Native American communities, and the private sector and industry leaders, both tribal land and rural area broadband access is increasing.
Even so, according to figures released during the summit, only 46.6 percent of rural tribal locations currently have any kind of broadband coverage. The figure is somewhat better for rural non-tribal locations, 73.3 percent of which today have at least one broadband provider.
Despite the ongoing push, summit speakers noted that the quest to increase broadband availability on tribal lands is not without challenges: many tribal areas are situated on rough terrain in rural locations.
And in those locations the populations tend to be significantly more sparse than in urban areas, a factor driving up the cost for any businesses desiring to serve a tribal area.
Federal Communications Commission chairman Ajit Pai noted that smaller carriers serving tribal communities have increasingly been trying to balance out their broadband infrastructure costs with support from the commission’s Universal Service Fund.
Pai noted that in August, the commission authorized a “new round of support for rate-of-return carriers, which will ensure fixed broadband is available to over 37,000 locations on tribal lands.”
By Garry Boulard
dona ana community college looking at bond to pay for a variety of facility construction and upgrade projects
In an effort to improve its media technology program, Dona Ana Community College is hoping to build a new 15,300 square-foot building inside the Arrowhead Research Park in Las Cruces.
That structure will be funded by a $16 million general obligation bond that city voters will decide on in November.
That bond will help the school considerably enhance its Creative Media Technology Program, which trains students in film, computer animation, and digital video production, among other media.
The proposed creative media building is expected to cost $3.9 million to build, and will be one of several facility projects to be funded by the bond.
According to Dona Ana Community College officials, the $16 million bond will also pay for up to $1 million in classroom renovations and upgrades at the school’s five campuses, as well as $2 million in general facility infrastructure improvements.
Also to be funded: a $3 million advanced technology center at the school’s Gadsden Center in Anthony. That facility will measure around 15,800 square feet, and will house two classrooms and two technology labs.
Another $1.4 million will go for safety and security upgrades on all of the school’s campuses. Those upgrades are expected to include new exterior and interior lighting, signage, cameras, and fencing repair and replacement.
With an enrollment of nearly 8,000 students and an emphasis on workforce training, Dona Ana Community College is the fourth-largest higher education institution in the state.
By Garry Boulard
A long-cherished dream in Santa Fe to build a teen center may finally be gaining some traction with design work currently underway by a local architectural firm.
For more than a decade, Santa Fe officials have wanted to build a multi-purpose facility on the south side of the city that would include a gymnasium, but also provide meeting space for a variety of community, education, and health programs.
The envisioned 10,000 square foot structure is slated to go up near the Tierra Contenta neighborhood and the Southside Branch Library, located at 6599 Jaguar Drive, roughly 8 miles southwest of downtown Santa Fe.
The Tierra Contenta subdivision, just a little over 20 years old, is one of the fastest-growing residential sections of Santa Fe with more than 2,300 housing units, and large numbers of families with teenagers.
Plans call for the construction of at least another 2,000 housing units in Tierra Contenta in the next decade or so.
Around $1.1 million for the teen center project was secured as a capital outlay appropriation earlier this year by the New Mexico State Legislature. The city, meanwhile, has come through with another $1 million.
According to the Santa Fe Reporter newspaper, the city is “hoping for another $3 million and has identified it among top capital funding priorities for next year.”
The design for the new center is being handled by the architectural firm of Spears Horn Architects, in conjunction with the non-profit Earth Care, which has interviewed area teens, asking for their input on the project.
The Santa Fe-based Earth Care is a youth leadership organization devoted to sustainability issues.
A final construction cost estimate for the new teen center is expected to be announced by city officials early next year.
By Garry Boulard
New funding for Better Utilizing Investments to Leverage Development grants has been approved by a U.S. Senate subcommittee as part of the upcoming 2020 appropriations bill.
What are known simply as BUILD grants are used to pay for any number of transportation infrastructure projects across the country.
The Senate Transportation, Housing and Urban Development and Related Agencies Appropriations Subcommittee has altogether now given the green light to just under $87 billion in transportation funding for the coming fiscal year.
That funding will also make available some $46.3 billion for highway construction and upgrading projects, and $17.7 billion for airport infrastructure projects spearheaded by the Federal Aviation Administration.
New and continuing rail infrastructure projects spearheaded by the Federal Railroad Administration are receiving $2.8 billion in grant funding, while the Federal Transit Administration is poised to receive $13 billion for similar project work.
The legislation will also provide just over $900 million for port infrastructure projects nationally, as well as funding for bridge replacements and railway/highway grade crossings improvements.
The subcommittee spending bill is now being reviewed by members of the Senate Appropriations Committee.
The BUILD program is administered through the federal Department of Transportation and is designed to support investments in a wide array of transportation infrastructure projects.
Between 2009 and 2017, the program provided more than $5 billion for 421 transportation infrastructure investment projects nationally.
By Garry Boulard
The construction of nearly 200 bungalows on an undeveloped site in Prescott Valley, Arizona has won the approval of the town’s planning and zoning commission.
As proposed by the Scottsdale-based developer Cavan Opportunity Fund LLC, the project will also include the building of 12,000 square feet of commercial space, along with another 30,000 square feet of mixed commercial and office space.
The commercial and office development will be confined to roughly six acres of the 17-acre site.
The bungalows are set to go up at the northeast intersection of Arizona State Route 169 and Arizona State Route 69 in the vicinity of a neighborhood of mostly one-story residential structures.
Plans calls for the building of 51 one-bedroom units, 98 two-bedroom units, and 47 three-bedroom units.
As required by local law, the project has already been the subject of a public input meeting.
An exact timeline for when construction on the bungalow project will launch has not yet been announced.
By Garry Boulard
Up to 110,000 square feet of new restaurants, specialty stores, and small grocery store space may eventually see construction in the historic Mission Trail area south of El Paso.
New sidewalks, building facades, and upgraded streets will almost certainly be a part of an effort to upgrade the area, with an eye towards attracting more tourists to the cities and communities of Ysleta, Socorro, and San Elizario.
Although no precise numbers are available, the Mission Trail area has for years proven itself a tourist attraction because of the historic Spanish missions located there.
According to county documents the strategic plan, which has already been the subject of public input during the last year, could also include the rehabilitation and restoration of existing historical structures.
The strategic vision plan, officially called the Mission Trail Comprehensive Master Plan, is currently being reviewed by the El Paso County Commissioners Court.
Besides the churches of Ysleta and Socorro, the Mission Trail also includes the presidio chapel of San Elizario, completed in 1882.
The churches and chapels, located along a 9-mile stretch, are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Mission Trail itself has been certified by the National Parks Service as part of the National Trails System.
By Garry Boulard
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