Through a collaboration between Cawley Architects, the City of Surprise and the school, Ottawa University unveiled its $21 million, 96,321 SF athletic facility.

Cawley Architects is the design firm behind the Ottawa University Athletic Facility for Indoor and Outdoor Athletics. The facility at 14470 W. Tierra Buena Lane, Surprise, comprises the 44,317 SF O’Dell Center, the 41,027 SF Faith Arena and lobby and a 10,977 SF recreational facility.

“We hold our project partners, the City of Surprise, Ottawa University and Haydon Building Corp. in the highest regard,” said Cawley Architects President Sherman Cawley. “This project is a confirmation that the design build approach to projects in the public arena can succeed at the highest level, bringing increased savings to our clients and superior value to their institutions.”

The project is a multi-use athletic facility designed to house Ottawa University’s 21 indoor and outdoor sports teams. It’s located on the governmental campus of Surprise City Hall. The complex is divided into three major uses.

The “O’Dell Center” (named after its donor) is three stories and faces a recently completed multipurpose sports field for football, soccer and lacrosse. The main floor has locker rooms for those sports and others including baseball, softball, track, golf, beach volleyball, tennis, basketball and volleyball.

All programs share a training room and a weight room. The second floor has needed classrooms with student and faculty areas. The athletics offices are located on the third floor along with press box and hospitality areas overlooking the football field.

The Faith Arena has a 30,000 SF gym with four basketball courts designed for four full-size volleyball courts. A main court area with telescopic bleacher seating provides a setting for competitive games and events. The lobby with concessions, ticketing and restrooms provide a link to the O’Dell Center.

The recreational center was constructed in partnership with the city and is available to Surprise residents and university members. There is an area for cardiovascular and weight-training equipment, a walking track, three multi-use rooms for dance and yoga with locker rooms.

The City of Surprise partnered with Ottawa University and contributed to the development and construction portion of the recreational center. The project also is one of the first steps in expanding the campus. Plans call for more student housing as well as a new student union center.

“The Surprise City Council had a vision 8 years ago to partner on a residential university development inside the 200-acre city, civic and recreation campus,” said Mike Hoover, City of Surprise Economic Development Manager. “The O’Dell Center accomplishes the goal of delivering first-rate indoor programming for city recreation along with new vibrancy of university life on the shared city and university campus.”

Ottawa University opened its Arizona campus in August of 2017 with 434 new pioneer students, nearly twice the original projections.

The Cawley team, led by Paul Devers, our lead architect, has done a beautiful job.  We are thrilled with the outcome, and most importantly, so are our students, faculty and coaches,” said University Chancellor Kevin C. Eichner. “We are now engaging them to assist us with a longer-term campus master plan as we anticipate even greater growth in the months and years ahead.”

Other team members on the project include Haydon Building Corp., general contractor; Dibble Engineering, civil; Pearson Engineering, electrical; MDI Engineering, mechanical and plumbing; CTS Engineering, structural; and TJ McQueen, landscape architect.

“It took an extraordinary team to complete this very complicated project in only 18 months,” said Paul Devers, Vice President/Principal with Cawley Architects. “The design and construction team worked hand and hand with the Ottawa team to deliver a building complex of which everyone can be proud.”

In addition to its new Surprise residential campus, Ottawa University serves more than 4,000 students through its original, 153-year-old campus in Ottawa, Kansas, and at its adult education sites in Overland Park, Kansas; Milwaukee, Wisconsin; in central Phoenix just off I-17 between Peoria and Dunlap avenues; as well as through its robust online offerings. The university has been serving adult learners in the Phoenix area for 40 years and boasts more than 8,000 alumni in the Valley.