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ABOR approves NAU parcel purchase, capital improvement plan

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NAU Move In

Students and their families wait to pick up reserved books at a very busy campus bookstore during student move-in at Northern Arizona University in 2016.

With Thursday’s unanimous passing of the Arizona Board of Regent’s consent agenda came the board’s approval of Northern Arizona University’s $7.9 million purchase of land and of the university’s capital development plan, which includes the construction of a $139 million STEM building. 

Land purchase

The land previously housed Super Pawn and Mandarin Buffet. It is already bordered on two sides by the university, by Milton Road on its western edge and by the Embassy Suites by Hilton to the south.

NAU will acquire the property from Northern Arizona Real Estate Holdings, which works on behalf of the NAU foundation. NAREH is organized to finance, acquire, develop and operate real estate investments on behalf of the university and its foundation.

The university will pay NAREH $1.4 million within 90 days after closing at an interest rate of 5 percent, with the remaining $6.5 million to be paid in 20 equal annual installments also at an interest rate of 5 percent.

Earlier this month, NAU Executive Vice President Joanne Keene said the university has been interested in the property for a while, particularly as a direct access point to Milton Road.

Capital improvement plan

The board approved NAU’s capital improvement plan for the 2020-22 fiscal years.

The plan includes a $139 million multi-discipline/STEM academic/research building, which will be funded with system revenue bonds.

The 162,500-square-foot building will be dedicated to multiple disciplines within the STEM programs, and the project is slated to begin in 2020.

According to the plan, a new multi-discipline science building is needed to provide adequate space for departments that have increased enrollments over the last several years in order to maintain a high academic standard. The full programming of the building is to be determined over the next several months.

The new STEM building will be located where Peterson Hall now stands. Built to be a men’s dorm, Peterson now houses department offices. The $139 million building cost does not include the demolition of Peterson Hall.

Also included in the plan is a second Multi-Discipline STEM Academic/Research Building, which would follow the creation of the aforementioned one. The second building would be located at the site of the existing Babbott Annex.

Additionally, the plan includes $21.2 million of state appropriations that will go toward building renewal.

Projects included in the 2020-22 plan include:

  • A Biological Science Building renovation
  • A Physical Science Building renovation
  • Upgrades to research labs in engineering, health sciences, social and behavioral sciences
  • A Native American Cultural Center expansion
  • A Cline Library renovation and study space expansion
  • An Adel Math building renovation and expansion
  • The first phase of a sports performance and convocation center
  • The construction of a new classroom/office building
  • The construction of a South Campus academic building
  • The construction of a multi-use building
  • The construction of a central ITS and administration building
  • The construction of an early childhood education teaching and research center
  • The construction of a new Central Campus parking structure

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