Stories

College of Nursing and Health Innovation is Centerpiece of New Downtown Phoenix Campus

The 84,000-sq.-ft. College of Nursing and Health Innovation Phase 2 building serves as a center for study, teaching, learning and healing.
Named Best of the Best Public Higher Education/Research project in the U.S., the facility has garnered a legion of national and regional awards for its design-build approach, sustainable elements and unique architecture.
The facility is one of the first to be LEED-NC Gold certified in downtown Phoenix.

In the heart of downtown Phoenix, the iconic glass and copper-clad, city of Phoenix-owned College of Nursing and Health Innovation Phase 2 (NHI2) building signals a new era of innovation and growth for the college as the cornerstone of Arizona State University’s (ASU) newest campus.

Team Players

Customer: With an enrollment of 4,400 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral students, the College of Nursing and Health Innovation is the largest supplier of nurses in Arizona with baccalaureate and advanced practice degrees. U.S. News & World Report recently ranked the college’s graduate programs in the top 4 percent of graduate nursing programs in the nation.

Architect: SmithGroup

The new flagship facility, named the Best of the Best Public Higher Education/Research project in the United States by Engineering News-Record (ENR) in 2010, has garnered a legion of national and regional awards for its successful design-build approach, unique architecture and sustainable achievements. Designed as a center for study, teaching, learning and healing, the $29.25 million building is a compact five-story, 84,000-sq.-ft. structure containing classrooms, office and administrative spaces, a 200-seat conference center, and a 60-seat computer classroom laboratory.

The NHI2 building serves as the northern gateway to the Phoenix campus and represents a key component of the downtown city of Phoenix development that includes the university campus, a bioscience research center, expanded convention center and light rail. The building is one of a collection of seven structures that thread together a cohesive campus environment. The city of Phoenix and ASU partnered to build the campus and the new nursing building as part of a city bond issue passed by voters in 2006.

DPR and SmithGroup designed and built the facility on an aggressive 14-month construction schedule that began in April 2008 and concluded in July 2009, in time for the school’s fall semester. The team’s approach focused on balancing the various needs of a three-pronged client structure:

  • As the owner, the city of Phoenix required an urban building that creates shade and adds to the architectural character of its evolving downtown core.
  • ASU wanted an elegant icon on a?tight budget.
  • The College of Nursing and Health Innovation had need for expansion and brand identity for its high profile college, whose graduate nursing program is ranked in the top 4 percent in the U.S. in peer-rated rankings published this year by U.S. News & World Report.

The marquee structure achieves these goals, providing a strong identity and presence for both ASU and the College of Nursing and Health Innovation.

Certified as a LEED-NC Gold building, NHI2 is one of the first with the designation in downtown Phoenix. Along with solar water heating, more than three-quarters of the construction waste (967 tons) was diverted from conventional landfills and recycled, and 70 percent of all wood products were certified by the Forest Stewardship Council.

In addition to being recognized as the Best Public Higher Education/Research building in the U.S., the NHI2 building received a National Design-Build award in the Education Facility over $25 Million category by the Design-Build Institute of America (DBIA). For this award, projects must demonstrate successful application of design-build principles, including collaboration in the project’s early stages and the acceptance of single-entity risk. The projects must also be completed on time, on budget and without litigation, among other things. DPR’s design-builder Peter Berg credits the constant engagement of trade foremen, owner, architect, consultants and inspectors—all team members—in the Lean planning and scheduling process for the project’s on-schedule completion. DPR completed the project without requesting additional time from the city of Phoenix and without impacts.

“Phoenix has worked hard to build a knowledge-based economy and is proud to expand educational opportunities, especially in an area as critical as healthcare and with a high-caliber partner in ASU. This project also revitalized an underutilized block while adding to the architectural and urban character of downtown Phoenix. The city is also honored by the host of awards garnered by this project that was on-time and on-budget, including its LEED Gold certification.”

JEREMY LEGG,
Program Manager, City of Phoenix Community & Economic Development Department

Awards garnered by the project include:

  • Best Public Higher Education/Research Building in the U.S., ENR
  • National Design-Build award for an education facility over $25 million, DBIA
  • Best Public Higher Education/Research Building in Arizona, ENR Southwest
  • Best Educational Project in Arizona, Arizona Commercial Real Estate
  • Best Overall Design (2010),?Metal Architecture
  • 2010 AIA APS Energy Award, the American Institute of Architects?Arizona Chapter