Old Main

No original plans exist to help Sundt Construction rehab Old Main.

Sundt Construction, Inc. led the design-build team that won three prestigious awards last month for renovating the University of Arizona Old Main building in Tucson. The rehabilitation project, which preserved Arizona’s second oldest continuously occupied building, received two awards from the Arizona Preservation Foundation and one from the Design-Build Institute of America Western Pacific Region.

The Arizona Preservation Foundation, in collaboration with the Arizona State Historic Preservation Office/Arizona State Parks, chose Old Main from among nine Heritage Preservation Honor Award winners to receive the 2015 Grand Award. Presented on May 15 at the Governor’s Heritage Preservation Honor Awards at Northern Arizona University’s Du Bois Center in Flagstaff, the awards recognize people, organizations and projects that represent outstanding achievements in preserving Arizona’s prehistoric and historic resources.

 “Both awards further confirm our success in preserving one of Arizona’s oldest and most iconic buildings,” said Sundt Project Director Kurt Wadlington. “Our team worked cohesively with the architects at Poster Frost Mirto to maintain the building’s unique character and history while upgrading the facility for safety and efficient use.”

Old Main also received the Award of Merit during the 2015 DBIA WPR Annual Design-Build Awards Competition Dinner May 21 at the Newport Beach Marriott in Newport Beach, Calif. The design-build team, led by Sundt, received the honor not only for delivering the project on a fast-tracked schedule, but also for determining the necessary scope of rehabilitation and delivering solutions that preserved the historical integrity of the building.

 “This award belongs to the entire design-build team, including the subcontractors, who brought with them critical expertise in landmark building that ultimately led to the success of the project,” said Sundt senior project manager Fred Briscoe. “Because of the hard work and effort put into this rehabilitation, Old Main will remain the centerpiece for the UA campus for many years to come.”

The $9.7 million project involved rehabilitating deteriorated building elements to extend the building’s life and restore the second floor interior to its original character while accommodating new functional uses. The work included stabilizing the perimeter stone wall, resolving subterranean water infiltration, reinforcing the brick columns and chimneys, reconstructing the second floor porch, upgrading and leveling the second floor structure, replacing metal roof shingles, and rebuilding the second floor interior for use as the office of the University president. Other features included safety upgrades, installation of a new mechanical system, and replacement of the plumbing, lighting and electrical systems. 

Originally built in 1891, Old Main is the oldest building on The University of Arizona campus. During World War II, when the U.S. Navy stepped in to save the building from demolition and used the space for a training facility, Sundt was hired by the Navy to repair the exterior and interior walls, replace the failing roof trusses, and make several other updates. 

UA later reclaimed Old Main as a functional building and it housed ROTC and various student services functions since. In 1972, Old Main was listed on the National Register of Historic Places.