UNLV officially broke ground for its $8.25 million, 75,000-square-foot architecture building on Wednesday (Sept. 4) on the south side of the university campus near the Houssels House and trailers that have housed the 16-year-old program.
Architecture faculty and students, members of the local architecture community, including UNLV's Architecture Advisory Board, members of the Board of Regents, representatives of the State Public Works Board, and other members of the university community joined President Carol C. Harter to celebrate the beginning of construction on the new home of UNLV's School of Architecture, which is expected to be complete by July 1997.
"This is an exciting day for all of us at UNLV and particularly for our architecture students and faculty," Harter said. "Breaking ground for this building is a defining moment in the history of our architecture program."
Explaining that a recent academic reorganization resulted in the School of Architecture becoming part of the College of Fine Arts, Harter said, "We are confident this move will strengthen the School of Architecture and, along with construction of this building, will act as a deciding factor in the national accreditation of our master of architecture program by the fall of 1997.
"The synergy between our programs and the needs of a dynamic and imaginatively designed community is obvious and will provide a tremendous laboratory for students in the school," Harter said.
President Harter thanked several donors who helped make the project possible, including the family of the late Las Vegas businessman Paul B. Sogg, local developer Johnny Ribeiro Jr., and construction contractor J.A. Tiberti.
Sogg had pledged $1.5 million toward construction of a building to house the architecture program in 1989. Harter said that UNLV will ask the Board of Regents at its October meeting to approve naming the new structure the Paul B. Sogg Architecture Building.
The building was designed by Swisher Hall Architects and will be built by Tibesar Construction.
The school offers the master of architecture as a professional degree, as well as bachelor of science degrees in architecture, interior architecture, landscape architecture, and urban planning. Currently, 325 undergraduate majors and 25 graduate students are enrolled in the program.
In recent years the program has occupied the Houssels House, a small Tudor-style house that was donated to the university and relocated to the campus from downtown Las Vegas in the early 1980s, and several temporary double-wide trailers.
"The resolution of the building and accreditation issues will enable the programs of architecture, landscape architecture, interior design, and urban planning to be recognized for their important contributions to the design professions and to the design issues important to the state of Nevada: hotel and resort design and sustainable desert development," according to Michael Alcorn, director of the School of Architecture.
The new structure will provide ample classroom, studio, library, and office space for the school. A construction bid that came in under budget will allow enhancement of the landscaping and parking around the building, as well as a pedestrian mall connecting the building to the Moyer Student Union and the central part of the campus.