Pima Community College will construct its first new building in eight years on its Northwest Campus, 7600 N. Shannon Road.
Tentatively dubbed the Science Lab and Classroom Building, the 48,000-square-foot facility will include seven classrooms, a lecture hall, a math emporium, nine science labs and a lab prep space when it is completed in October 2013.
The three-story building, which will be at the south end of campus, will also accommodate the college's hotel restaurant management program and 11 faculty offices.
It will be the largest structure on the grounds.
C.J. Karamargin, vice chancellor for public information at PCC, said the new facility is being built in response to the rapid growth on Tucson's northwest side.
Enrollment at the Northwest Campus has jumped 40 percent since it opened in 2003, with an average of nearly 6,000 students a semester.
The number of students studying science on campus has more than doubled from 1,694 to 3,232.
"It shouldn't come as a surprise that the campus that serves the part of the community with the most growth is also growing," Karamargin said.
Construction was approved by the college's Governing Board in spring 2010. Work is scheduled to begin in October, and classes will start at the facility in spring 2014. The project is expected to cost between $8.8 million and $10.1 million.
It will be spearheaded by the firm Burns Wald-Hopkins Shambach Architects.
The last building constructed in the PCC system was a fitness center completed in 2004 at the Desert Vista Campus, 5901 S. Calle Santa Cruz.
The new facility will be designed with the latest technology available.
It won't be home to cutting-edge research, but it will provide a functional and practical space for students to learn, Karamargin said.
"Many of our students go on to the University of Arizona," he said. "The experience they have at Pima, the knowledge they gain, is foundational."
The building will be adjacent to PCC's Building E, where science classes are currently held.
William Ward, assistant vice chancellor for facilities at PCC, said the new facility will be built on a plot of land that the college planned for expansion.
The building addresses many features that other buildings on the campus lack, such as awnings along the walkways to shield students from the sun between classes.
"We included faculty, staff and student input when we developed what it was going to look like," Ward said.
The design process is in its final stages. The next step will be accepting bids from contractors.
"It is a good time to build," Ward said. "It is going to put people to work, and that is always a good thing in my eyes."
Did You Know?
Between the buildings on its six campuses and its off-campus facilities, Pima Community College takes up approximately 1.7 million square feet on more than 500 acres in Southern Arizona.
Contact reporter Gerald M. Gay at firstname.lastname@example.org or 807-8430.