By Eric Althoff
APACHE JUNCTION, Ariz.—Officials from Central Arizona College recently gathered with personnel from McCarthy Building Companies and Architekton for a groundbreaking ceremony commemorating the start of work on the Superstition Mountain Campus expansion project. In addition to renovating the existing C building, the scope of work entails construction of new buildings for the school’s Allied Health and Skilled Trades programs. When completed, the $40 million expansion will total 51,620 square feet of new educational space.
“Central Arizona College is pleased to be working with McCarthy and Architekton to create a world-class learning experience for the residents of Apache Junction and Pinal County,” Dr. Jackie Elliott, president of CAC, said at the groundbreaking ceremony. “These new facilities will allow the college to prepare students for the workforce and assist in providing economic growth for the region.”
The Allied Health building will contain classrooms and laboratories specifically devoted to such medical specialties as pharmaceuticals, phlebotomy, massage therapy, sonography, radiology and nursing. Medical students will be able to train in simulation centers that mimic field-level experience in operating rooms and other healthcare settings. The classrooms will be outfitted with the most up-to-date technology, including patient simulators as well as the classic mannequin dolls.
The Skilled Trades building will entail areas for students to learn about such fields as plumbing, electrical, ceramics and the arts. In addition to learning from industry experts, students will have the opportunity to try out their new knowledge in practical workshops.
Meanwhile, renovations at C building include installing a new computer lab, virtual reality facility, faculty and public safety offices, as well as expansions to the existing E-Sports Lab. McCarthy will also be building an exterior canopy that will increase the outdoor seating and dining area; students will be able to have lunch while enjoying views of the nearby Superstition Mountains.
Renovations at C building will be complete this spring, with the Skilled Trades and Allied Health buildings due to open later in 2024. At that point, several existing buildings will also be torn down and replaced with natural landscaping.
“McCarthy and Central Arizona College share a priority for advancing career and technical education that promotes and cultivates local talent in skilled trades,” Andrea Ramos, project director for McCarthy, said of the firm’s work at the school. “We are committed to working with the CAC team and Architekton to build an exceptional campus expansion that will play a pivotal role in educating our future workforce in fields that are currently experiencing labor shortages, including healthcare and construction.”
“These facilities will be designed with a strong emphasis on sustainability and energy efficiency—incorporating efficient HVAC systems, natural lighting, rainwater collection and water conservation measures,” added Daniel Childers, senior associate at Architekton. “These sustainable design elements will help in the education and integration of sustainability into CAC’s curriculum to promote environmentally responsible practices.
“By providing cutting-edge education and training opportunities, these facilities will contribute to the growth of the region’s emerging technology and healthcare sectors while fostering innovation, collaboration and sustainability in healthcare practices.”
Subcontractors working with McCarthy and Architekton include Stone Cold Masonry, RN Electric, Pete King and S&H Steel.
Central Arizona College has five campuses throughout Pinal County.