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Maryland Parkway's Future Begins to Take Shape

University Gateway is the first of one of many projects that could transform UNLV's main thoroughfare over the coming years.

Campus News  |  Sep 6, 2018  |  By Jason Scavone
Concrete and steel rise into the sky as the University Gateway building is being constructed.

University Gateway could be ready as soon as fall 2019. (Josh Hawkins / UNLV Creative Services)

Editor's Note: 

The UNLV Alumni Association will be hosting a Rebel Business Network luncheon at 11:30 a.m. Sept. 19 at the Richard Tam Alumni Center to discuss revitalization of Maryland Parkway. David Frommer will be one of the panelists.

Maryland Parkway’s newest addition is well under way, but anyone looking for a new lunch spot across from UNLV’s front door will have to wait until fall 2019, at the earliest.

The University Gateway project, rising in skeletal slab of rebar and concrete in front of the already-completed parking garage behind it, may have a shell in place by the middle of next year. UNLV would then have to complete tenant improvements on the public-private partnership space before Police Services, the Graduate College, and Office of Community Engagement could move in to the mixed-use retail and office building.

It’s part of a busy future for Maryland Parkway. An advisory panel to the Regional Transportation Commission voted in June to recommend plans for a light rail line that could run along Maryland on the way from McCarran International Airport to University Medical Center, over other options like enhanced bus service or a less-costly street improvement project.

Clark County has received bids to improve Maryland Parkway, including resurfacing, pedestrian improvements and possibly utility work. The improvements will include with the stretch of road from Russell Road to Twain Avenue, and includes a re-alignment of Cottage Grove Avenue on the west side of Maryland Parkway to line up with Rochelle Avenue on the east.

“Clark County Public Works and UNLV worked together to include the Cottage Grove Avenue realignment scope in the Clark County bidding process, and it's moving forward. It came within the budget of the funding we assigned, so that will be a part of the project,” University Architect David Frommer said. “They've got to go through the contracting process, which has to go through approval by the board of county commissioners. My guess is construction may start later in the fall.”

That’s not the only other road-related project UNLV is in the thick of. Approved by the Clark County Planning Commission in July, Swenson Street from East Hacienda to Desert Inn will be renamed University Center Drive. The renaming will take place by the end of this year.

The buildings recently vacated by the EPA, meanwhile, are undergoing renovation and are expected to be ready this fall to take the stage as research space for psychology, neuroscience and the entertainment, engineering and design program. The psychology department will see some of its labs — from the Herman Westfall Building, White Life Sciences building, and Paradise Campus — consolidate in the former EPA space.

The medical education building on the Shadow Lane campus and the Fertitta Football Complex are still in early stages, with fundraising for both projects still ongoing. The latter is funded through construction of the building shell and some interior areas, with these items scheduled for construction completion by around the end of the school year, but additional fundraising is needed to finish the rest of the interiors, furniture, and equipment.

As for longer-term projects, new buildings for the Lee Business School and an addition to the College of Engineering are still on the table. Funding for Engineering will be considered in the 2019 legislative session.

Another project that the legislature will consider for planning funding, Frommer said, is a new interdisciplinary academic and research building. That building would be a mix of dry and wet lab space for a variety of disciplines,and could include classroom lab space. Campus planners currently evaluating how to use the space: either to accommodate new hires or to move existing faculty labs which would allow for repurposing or renovation of similar existing spaces, like in the Chemistry Building.

“We're in the early process of defining that,” Frommer said. “Those [labs] are some of the areas we have space deficits on campus.”

Planning and construction is also assessing where on campus to place the building. “We'll probably assess a few sites. Typically we're looking at parking, which is an area that has its own backfill issues. Everyone on campus needs space.”