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Construction projects abound during UNLV's 'renaissance' period marked by enrollment growth

Jackie Valley
Jackie Valley
The UNLV Sign in front of the Hospitality Hall under construction

Construction noise on UNLV’s campus won’t be winding down anytime soon.

University President Len Jessup outlined a number of projects — some recently completed and others in progress or soon to launch — during his keynote speech Tuesday morning at the Nevada Economic Development Conference.

“We think we’re in the midst of a renaissance,” he said.

UNLV, which is on a mission to be recognized as a top-tier public university, surpassed 30,000 students for the first time last week, Jessup said, underscoring the need for infrastructure improvements.

“We need to become a modern, efficient, effective organization as we grow and expand our footprint,” he said.

Here’s a look at some of the infrastructure projects that Jessup said will help transform the university and further economic growth in the state:

Thomas & Mack Center: The university completed $72.5 million worth of renovations to the Thomas & Mack Center last year, making the arena that houses the UNLV basketball program modern and competitive again. The project included creating the Strip View Pavilion, which serves as a space for meetings and private events.

Beverly Rogers Literature and Law Building: The building that houses the Honors College and Black Mountain Institute just got a $12 million facelift. The Honors College, which Jessup said is “growing like crazy,” now boasts 1,000 students who can enjoy comfortable work spaces built for collaboration.

Anthony and Lyndy Marnell III Baseball Clubhouse: An initial gift from Anthony and Lyndy Marnell jumpstarted this $4 million project to create a 10,000-square foot clubhouse for the Rebel baseball program. The new space features coaches’ offices, a players’ lounge, locker room, academic area and second-floor patio with views of the Las Vegas Strip. “It’s the best seat in college baseball now,” Jessup said.

Hospitality Hall: This 93,500-square-foot new building for the William F. Harrah College of Hotel Administration should be finished late this fall. Jessup said the university plans to do a grand-opening celebration in January. The $57 million project was funded by private donations — many from local gaming companies — and matching state funds.

U District: A public-private partnership could bring 3,000 new beds to an on-campus apartment complex over the next decade. The first phase of the $76 million project is expected to open later this fall, with 750 beds spread out over roughly 300 apartment units. The new community is located on the corner of Maryland Parkway and Cottage Grove Road and will feature a fitness room, group study areas, lounges and a resort-style pool. Jessup said the university desperately needs the housing space, given that dormitories only accommodate about 8,000 students.

University Gateway: This $18 million project, which is also a public-private partnership, involves a parking structure and building that will have retail, office and possibly residential space on Maryland Parkway. The parking structure includes 820 spaces, with 630 reserved for UNLV. Jessup said the developer is working with the county to get permit approvals to start constructing the building.

Harry Reid Research and Technology Park: University officials expect to announce soon a third building that will be constructed at the Harry Reid Research and Technology Park, a 122-acre parcel near Interstate 215 and Durango Drive. “I won’t say much more on that,” Jessup said.

UNLV School of Medicine Building: Fundraising continues for the building to house the university’s new medical school, which is estimated to cost more than $100 million. UNLV has roughly $50 million banked for the project, which includes $35 million from an anonymous donor and $25 million from the state. Renderings of the yet-to-be-constructed building — to be located in the Medical District downtown — show modern design elements and collaborative work spaces. The medical school’s inaugural class of 60 students started this summer.

New engineering building: Lawmakers granted UNLV $1.75 million this session to start planning for a new engineering building to accommodate the program’s growth. Jessup said the university is starting to raise funds for the estimated $35 million project and will seek construction money during the 2019 legislative session.

Fertitta Football Complex: The Nevada Board of Regents recently approved UNLV’s plan to secure a loan for its football practice facility. The Fertitta family has pledged $10 million toward the $28 million project. Jessup said the university has roughly $20 million raised or pledged but needs another couple of million dollars before beginning construction. UNLV would pay back the loan with money pledged toward the project.  “We hope to have that going by the end of the fall,” he said. “That building will be phenomenal for what it does for our football program.”

University Village: UNLV is working with the local government and airport officials as it contemplates how to develop 42 acres along Tropicana Avenue that was once a possibility for the NFL stadium. Jessup said the land, owned by the university, will likely become a mixed-use development with space for graduate education, clinical activities, retail and living. “We need that land, and we need to develop it,” he said.

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