Gonzaga to break ground on $14 million retail, parking facility

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This week Gonzaga University announced plans to break ground this spring on a new four-level, $14 million mixed-use facility with a ground-floor campus bookstore, meeting rooms and flexible space designed for dining and future retail, as well as 650 parking spaces. The building will occupy the block bounded by Hamilton and Cincinnati Streets and DeSmet and Boone Avenues. In addition to providing attractive dining and retail space for students and area residents, the structure will accommodate attendees of campus events and provide the parking infrastructure necessary to build a University Center within the next few years. Construction of the new facility precedes eventual demolition of the COG (Center of Gonzaga) and its adjacent parking lot to make way for construction of a new University Center at that location.Campus planners are evaluating components and functions of a University Center, including its size, scope and uses. A university bookstore, facing Cincinnati, will be relocated from the COG to fill approximately 16,000-square-feet of ground-level retail space in the new mixed-use facility. The new structure also will accommodate an additional 20,000-square-feet of ground-floor retail space facing Hamilton. “Initially, the flexible areas facing Hamilton will be used for academic conferences and meetings, special events and other general uses,” said Chuck Murphy, Gonzaga’s vice president for finance. “Upon demolition of the COG, student dining will be temporarily located to this area of the facility. When the University Center is completed, it will become leased retail space.” The University also is working to create space on campus for parking that currently impacts residential streets in the Logan Neighborhood nearest to campus, Murphy added. The new facility underscores Gonzaga’s commitment to environmentally sensitive construction, with a design that aims for LEED certification through careful selection of materials, energy systems and more. Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design is an internationally recognized green building certification system that provides third-party verification that buildings are designed and built using strategies to increase performance and reduce waste. Partial funding for the new facility has been secured through private donations, and will be sustained through income from a combination of leased space and parking fees. The new mixed-use facility — the first major construction project on campus since completion of Coughlin Residence Hall in August 2009 — is expected to be operational by January 2013.

About Tracy Simmons

Tracy Simmons is an award winning journalist specializing in religion reporting, digital entrepreneurship and social journalism. In her 15 years on the religion beat, Simmons has tucked a notepad in her pocket and found some of her favorite stories aboard cargo ships in New Jersey, on a police chase in Albuquerque, in dusty Texas church bell towers, on the streets of New York and in tent cities in Haiti.
Simmons has worked as a multimedia journalist for newspapers across New Mexico, Texas and Connecticut. Currently she serves as the executive director of SpokaneFAVS.com, a digital journalism start-up covering religion news and commentary in Spokane, Wash. She is also a Journalism Instructor at Washington State University.

She also writes for The Spokesman-Review and for the Religion News Service.

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