By Eric Althoff
YUMA, Ariz.—McCarthy Building Companies has topped out construction work at Arizona Western College’s $17.5 million Matador Activity Center, which is due to open in the fall.
The two-story, 45,000-square-foot facility will feature conference rooms, cafeteria space, lecture hall, esports arena as well as an up-to-date multimedia center that will serve as the home of KAWC radio and television studios. Students and others will be able to observe production live as it happens via both traditional television monitors as well as glass walls outside the studios. The Matador Activity Center will also host a food pantry and clothing donation program to help disadvantaged students. Administrative space will be available on the second floor of the building.
“Achieving topping out on the Matador Activity Center is exciting and brings our objective of further contributing to the student experience at Arizona Western College and serving future generations closer to realization,” AWC President Dr. Daniel Corr said at the ceremony. “We’re thrilled to see the progress on the building, and look forward to opening it up to our students and staff this fall.”
McCarthy is working on the project with designer EMC2. Subcontractors on the project include Haxton Masonry, Delta Diversified Enterprises, Yuma Valley Contractors, Pacific Steel Inc. and Progressive Roofing.
In an emailed statement, Jakob Lund, project manager for McCarthy, said that an ongoing difficulty of the Matador construction has been the ongoing lack of trade workers, which has affected the construction industry across the board. However, Lund remains confident that he and his team can make their fall deadline—especially important as Arizona’s rather wet monsoon season will strike over the summer.
“The current weather conditions in the area combined with workforce challenges are impacting this aspect of the project—and have our teams working hard to maintain the schedule,” Lund said.
One of the most uniquely difficult hurdles is that the Matador Student Experience Center necessitates an antenna tower so that AWC’s programming can be beamed around to the Grand Canyon State.
“It’s been a unique experience to coordinate with the radio and TV stations to ensure that the structure supports the many different devices that will be mounted on it,” said Lund, adding that after careful work “it is correctly positioned for the transmissions.”
In addition to the Matador Center, AWC is also working on two other construction projects, a residence hall and a public safety training facility expansion. As all three of these buildings are being built—by different contractors—as the campus remains open, Lund said it requires no small bit of logistical work on everyone’s parts.
“It’s a very active campus from a construction and student, faculty and staff perspective,” said Lund. “The College is doing a great job facilitating the coordination, and we’re all focused on keeping everyone on campus safe.”
McCarthy, which has been in business for over a century and a half, has been ranked as the 19th largest domestic builder by Engineering News-Record. The firm is 100 percent employee-owned.