Category Archives: GCU Campus Expansion

Thunder Alley Gets the Bowling Ball Rolling

Grand Canyon University student bowls at the new student life center, Thunder Alley


Grand Canyon University is regularly adding features to enhance the vibrant student life that campus students experience. GCU’s exciting newest addition, the Thunder Alley Bowling Lanes, opened November 14 in the Thunder Alley basement.

The bowling alley features six lanes plus a game room with pool tables, ping pong, a Golden Tee Arcade Game, air hockey and two lounge areas with big screen TV’s. The space is designed to be a relaxing and fun area for students, faculty and staff to hang out, watch the big game or bowl a few strikes or pick up a few spares. The facility is also available to reserve or rent for special occasions. Reservations can be made through Stacy Haddow in the Office of Student Life.

“We’re working on getting lots of events planned  for next semester,” said Haddow. “We’d love to get bowling intramurals and pool tournaments going. The space is so multifunctional, we want to make great use of it for students.”

Bowling is a fun, social activity that even doubles as exercise for those students who would rather mingle than log a sweat session at the Student Recreation Center. In research done by the Mayo Clinic on the benefits of exercise for weight loss, bowling can burn more than 300 calories in an hour.

Whether you’re looking for a study break, low-impact exercise or just a place to hang out with friends and let off some steam, Thunder Alley Bowling is a great place to go.

Bowling Alley and Game Room hours are Sunday-Thursday, 2 p.m. to 10 p.m. and Friday and Saturday, 2 p.m. to midnight. The cost is $1.50/game for students, $2.00/game for staff and $2.50/game for guests. For more information about Thunder Alley Bowling Lanes and reservations visit GCU Today.


Introducing the Colangelo School of Sports Business

On Tuesday, October 25th, the formation of the Colangelo School of Sports Business was publicly announced at a news conference in the Grand Canyon University Arena by the entrepreneur and legendary sports professional himself, Jerry Colangelo.  Alongside Grand Canyon University CEO, Brian Mueller, and Business Dean, Dr. Kevin Barksdale, Mr. Colangelo championed his mission to share what has made him so successful with a savvy generation of current and prospective students.

Launched in mid-2010, the Bachelor of Science in Sports Management has more than 300 ground and online students currently enrolled in Arizona’s only sports business major program. The opportunity for Grand Canyon University students to engage with experts in the field through the Colangelo Guest lecture Series and participate in exclusive networking events truly sets this program apart from others throughout the country. In addition, each year, an outstanding second-year student will be selected to be mentored by Colangelo.

Jerry Colangelo possesses a remarkable track record of casting a vision which has helped transform organizations, franchises, and entire metropolitan cities.  In honor of this historic collaboration with Grand Canyon University, Mr. Colangelo will donate personal sports memorabilia to be displayed permanently in the new Arena.

Equipping students with a sports business education focused on innovation, servant leadership, and then enveloped under the Colangelo banner speaks volumes to the quality and ambition of GCU’s latest pioneering academic program.

Arena Topping-Out Ceremony Draws Big Crowd

By Doug Carroll
Communications Staff

As a few hundred students and staff looked on, the final two steel beams for Grand Canyon University Arena were hoisted into place by crane shortly after 2:30 p.m. on Thursday.

The ceremonial topping-out marked a historic occasion for the University and the 5,000-seat facility, tentatively scheduled to open on October 1 as the home of the men’s and women’s basketball teams. The Arena also will host concerts and other productions.

Groundbreaking took place barely seven months ago, and already the Antelopes’ coaches are envisioning their teams running up and down the floor, which has yet to be installed.

“It’s a privilege to stand here on Trent May Court, in Keith BakerArena,” joked Russ Pennell, head coach of the men’s basketball team. “At least, that’s what they’ve been telling me.”

Pennell and May, head coach of the women’s team, were among those who addressed the gathering in the concrete bowl’s north end. Also making brief remarks were CEO Brian Mueller, campus development project manager Bob Machen, Phoenix CouncilmanClaude Mattox and Craig Shaw of Perini Construction, contractor for the facility.

“This will be the best midsize venue in the country,” Mueller said, noting that no taxpayer money was spent in its construction. “Our students and graduates will benefit, along with the people who come to work here every day.

“Thanks to all of you, because you have done this. This is just the beginning.”

Mattox, a Phoenix mayoral candidate, said he liked what he heard.

“I love the part about how it didn’t take any taxes,” he said. “I’ve always said this university is a diamond in the rough, and the diamond is beginning to shine.”

May called the facility “a huge step, a monumental step” and quoted from Proverbs 16:9: “In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps.”

Shaw said the building’s construction called for 800 tons of steel. He explained an old Norwegian tradition of affixing a pine tree to the last beam. An American flag rode up with the other beam.

The building was designed by Architekton of Tempe in partnership with 360 Architecture of Kansas City, Mo., which has designed a number of top-tier sports and concert venues across the country.

Reach Doug Carroll at 639.8011 or at

Student Picks: What would you like GCUs next building project to be?

Student Picks is a feature of the Herd on Campus where the students of GCU share their favorite restaurants, date spots, activities and more. It’s the “best of” Phoenix according to GCU. If your favorite isn’t listed here, make sure you leave it in the comments section.

GCU students pick what they wish GCU would build on campus next.

“I’m a Level 2 nursing student and I would love a nice library to study in with a new coffee shop– preferably Starbucks that we can swipe at!”
-Meghan Hartmann, senior

“A competition pool so our team doesn’t have to drive thirty minutes, to and from everyday– twice a day.”
-Victoria Heron, sophomore

“I think that they should build another parking lot. Just kidding! I think a softball field, or a nicer intramural field would be good.
-James Rood, sophomore

“Food court! We need more options to compete with other in-state alternatives.”
-Meranda Baker, senior

“I would really like to see more academic building like the new COE. The student population is skyrocketing, but we are running out of classrooms.”
-Robert Mohle, junior

“A new library. Our library is a little outdated, and not conducive to studying.”
-Kait Patterson, graduate student

Tell us what you’d like to see on campus !

Video Screen Installed on East Side of COE Building

By Doug Carroll
Communications Staff

The College of Education classroom building, already a huge hit with students, staff and visitors, became even more spectacular this week with the installation of the Times Square-style video screen on the second level of its eastern exterior.

Components for the screen arrived Wednesday from China. The project is the work of Darren Bak of Atlanta-based Innovation Sports Marketing, and Bak was on hand to oversee the installation by local company Christy Signs and its crew of eight.

“It went through testing before it was shipped,” Bak said on Friday morning. “The installation is going really well. The guys from Architekton (the building’s designer) and Pono (contractor) put everything in place.”

The board is about 17 feet tall and 38 feet long, including more than eight feet wrapping around the building’s south side. It consists of 60 panels, each weighing as much as 90 pounds and each containing up to 24 LED modules inside.

Bak said more testing of the screen will be done over the weekend. It could be ready to show programming — such as movies — within a week. Eventually, it will be synchronized with video screens inside the new Arena, now under construction nearby.

The video-display package for the Arena also is the work of Bak’s company. It is expected to be delivered in May and will provide the 5,000-seat venue with the latest in all-digital, high-definition technology for sports events, concerts and other productions.

Bak formerly worked for electronics giant Daktronics and has been involved in similar projects at universities across the country.

Reach Doug Carroll at 639.8011 or

Grand Canyon Campus Parking: Not a Walk in the Park

Article and Photo by Anissa Rowe

As Grand Canyon University continues to grow, one question seems to arise in minds across campus: Where do we park?

Some people don’t see it as much of an issue for now, while others are becoming frustrated with either the lack of availability or the overall safety issues involved.

Those who are unconcerned say the inconvenience is simply the price of having nice, new buildings going up on our 100-acre campus.

Several people who work in the Accounting Department in Building 4 shared their concerns on the matter.

Enrolling more students and hiring more workers is wonderful progress in this economy. But, as Brandi Flores pointed out, what if we can’t fit them and their vehicles on campus?

The fairly unanimous answer from both students and staff: Build a parking garage.

Undoubtedly, such a development would make for a cleaner parking atmosphere, opening up the main strip and funneling staff and student traffic efficiently for events.

It also would make safety apprehensions dissipate, as campus security could more easily monitor parking levels.

At this point, the University is trying to set priorities in place as “first things first.” But perhaps in the not-so-distant future both students and staff will have the luxury of well-organized, well-protected parking.

Until then, all will need to drive safely and be mindful of others.

Anissa Rowe is a senior English major. Her post-GCU dreams involve editing, creative writing, teaching, traveling and photography. Contact Anissa at

Grand Canyon University’s New College Of Education Building Unites South Campus

By Doug Carroll
Communications Staff

The new home of the College of Education will create unprecedented instructional opportunities and also be a structure that unifies the south end of campus.

The 19-classroom facility, which is on target to open in December, received a ceremonial topping off by its Pono Construction crew on Wednesday morning, Sept. 15. GCU administration treated the workers to pizza on the east end of the second level.

COE staff tour the office space in their new building.

“This means a lot for the University and for its support of the College of Education,” said Dr. Cindy Knott, the college’s dean. “These classrooms will have the newest technology, and we’ve been without that.”

The college primarily has used the Fleming and Wallace buildings for its classes — and has even used the conference room of its own modest administration building.

“We’re blessed to be in the situation where we need more buildings and classrooms,” said Stan Meyer, GCU’s executive vice president. “This fits beautifully with this side of campus.”

The building has several interesting features, as explained by architect Tom Reilly of the Tempe firm Architekton. Each corridor will have a “computer bar” for student use, and there will be alcove space for impromptu meetings. There will be three classrooms capable of opening into double rooms, and two group-study rooms on the west end will face out on the Promenade.

“There’s a relationship with the Promenade as a people space and an active space,” said Reilly, noting that the challenge was to make the new building fit in complementary fashion between the Library and Fleming.

Restrooms have been positioned on the east side to better serve the open space leading to the Event Center, which is under construction and will be ready in the fall of 2011. A video board on the COE building’s east side will have the ability to show movies or sports telecasts to those gathered on the paseo.

“A big part of this building is its eastern face,” Reilly said.

From the Promenade, a pedestrian is able to see all the way down the hallway of the COE building to the College of Nursing and Health Sciences building, which is almost perfectly framed by the hallway.

Reilly praised Pono, which has had a crew of several dozen on the job at all times and an estimated 300 workers total. Pono also built Canyon Hall, the new dormitory on campus.

“I think people are understanding what your campus is about,” Reilly said. “You’re getting an extra commitment because of who you are. Pono has been incredibly dedicated, and all of us are thankful to be working in a difficult economy right now.”

Reach Doug Carroll at 602.639.8011 or

Grand Canyon University’s New Recreation Center Only Six Weeks From Opening

By Doug Carroll
Communications Staff

GCU’s 55,000-square-foot Student Recreation Center, on track for an Oct. 15 opening, is full of eye-popping amenities that are certain to bring rave reviews from the University’s students and staff.

A tour of the project on Friday, Sept. 3, was led by Bob Machen, GCU’s campus development project manager. The walk-through revealed what has been suspected all along: GCU will have a second-to-none practice facility for its basketball and wrestling teams, along with a fitness center to serve its student and staff population as never before.

Windows on the building’s north and west sides allow views of the rest of the athletic complex, with impressive overlooks of the softball and soccer fields. The hardwood flooring for three full basketball courts is now being installed and is expected to be completed in a week to 10 days.

The six baskets already are in place. The men’s and women’s teams will have exclusive use of the westernmost court; students and staff will be able to use the other two.

“The courts, in and of themselves, are an incredible recruiting tool,” Machen says. “This is an NBA-quality court. The Phoenix Suns don’t have a better one.”

Wood-paneled lockers for the men’s and women’s basketball teams have been installed, and lounges for the teams will include room for a big-screen TV, sofas and computer stations. Also on the building’s first floor are spacious weightlifting and athletic-training rooms.

On the second level’s east end, a large fitness area for students and staff overlooks the basketball courts. Natural light streams through windows into a huge wrestling room, and there are locker rooms to be used by the Antelope coaching staff.

A crew of as many as 170 workers has been involved in UEB’s construction of the facility, whose modular design was the work of Architekton of Tempe.

Along the Promenade, the new College of Education classroom building is going up fast. Concrete has been poured for the second floor, and dry-walling of the first floor will begin next week.

“You can’t blink an eye on this project,” Machen says of the building, praising Pono Construction for its speed and attention to detail.

In the next week, Machen will meet with a company from Atlanta that is designing high-definition video boards for the new Event Center (opening in the fall of 2011) and the east side of the Education classroom building.

Reach Doug Carroll at 639.8011 or