McCarthy Building Companies recently broke ground on construction of the $17.5 million Student Experience Center at Arizona Western College (AWC). The center, which will serve more than 11,000 students, will include a two-story, 45,000-square-feet building set on 3.5 acres within the campus and will open in fall 2023.

The center, located at 2020 S. Avenue 8E in Yuma, Ariz., will include a lecture hall, multiple instructional modalities, shared common areas, conference rooms, Maker Space, an eatery, game areas and a state-of-the-art multimedia center and esports arena. The multimedia center will house the KAWC radio station and broadcast television studio with an emphasis on modern technology. Students and the public will be able to observe behind-the-scenes production through glass walls and TV monitors.

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The Student Experience Center will also provide honors students with a sanctuary to study and collaborate on group projects; a food pantry and clothing program for disadvantaged students named Andale’s Pantry; and 13,000 square feet of administrative space on the second floor.

“This facility will serve the next generation and contribute to the student experience at Arizona Western College for generations to come,” said AWC President Dr. Daniel Corr.

The project is being funded through board-approved revenue bonds for the college’s capital building efforts. Revenue bonds do not raise taxes for local taxpayers in Yuma and La Paz County; instead, they guarantee revenue to pay off bonds.

“The Student Experience Center will bring campus life to the next level and will afford community members an opportunity to attend special events in the lecture hall,” said Jakob Lund, project manager at McCarthy Building Companies. “We look forward to delivering an expedited project so students may enjoy the new facility starting next fall.”

EMC2 is serving as the design architect on the project, which is scheduled for completion in late summer 2023. Major subcontractors include Haxton Masonry, Delta Diversified Enterprises, Yuma Valley Contractors, Pacific Steel Inc. and Progressive Roofing.