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Construction of USAID/ASHA-Funded Innovation & Technology Incubation Center and Student Services/Student Excellence Center Underway at AUA

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YEREVAN, Armenia – The American University of Armenia (AUA) is pleased to share that construction/renovation for creation of a state-of-the-art Innovation & Technology Incubation Center and Student Services/Student Excellence Center in AUA’s Main Building (MB) has begun as of August 1, 2015. The renovations are being performed thanks to two generous grants from the American Schools and Hospitals Abroad (ASHA) program of the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID). While construction aims to be completed by September 2016, full renovation, furnishing, and equipping is scheduled to be completed in 2017.

Ashot Ghazaryan, AUA’s Vice President of Operations, stated, “We are happy to have started this construction/renovation, which will allow us to create additional study, research, and service opportunities the university has been wanting for a long time.”

“MANE Interior” LLC, the construction company, was selected through open bidding. To encourage transparency throughout the entire bidding process, pre-bid meetings were held at AUA. Construction companies that had responded to the bid announcement were invited to visit and examine the site of works and to obtain all necessary information that was needed for preparing their bids.

The analysis of the tender bids was made taking into consideration examination of the application, the technical proposal, compatibility of their general and specific construction experiences with the nature of the AUA project, scope of the construction/renovation projects accomplished and current contract commitments/works in progress, the financial turnover in the last three years, availability of professional staff, suggested timeline, and bank eligibility. The construction/renovation projects previously accomplished by “Mane Interior” LLC include the Dilijan International School.  

The architectural design and drawings were prepared by the team at “Storaket” Architectural Studio, who had previously designed AUA’s newly renovated AGBU Papazian Library. The new centers will reflect the same welcoming and comfortable environment conducive for students’ studies and creative work.

The improved student services are expected to include a Collaborative Learning Center, an Information Technology (IT) Suite, a Student Health and Counseling Suite as well as an Information Desk. The Collaborative Learning Center will provide an ideal space for students to gather and study together in a relaxed atmosphere. The IT Suite will provide technological resources for course instruction, internet-based standardized testing, and will also function as a writing center for students. The Student Health and Counseling Suite will take a holistic approach to individual development and wellbeing in order to provide physical and mental health services to students. The Information Desk will serve as the first contact point where prospective students, enrolled students, and visitors may come with any type of inquiry.

The Innovation & Technology Incubation Center will coalesce existing activity in entrepreneurship and innovation at AUA in a synergistic locale where student teamwork, creativity, and innovative technologies come together to foster new ventures and partnerships. It uses the American-style entrepreneurial spirit of openness and sharing of information to create potential for new enterprises that will contribute to both the local and global economy and employ the young business leaders of the future.

The facilities will include rooms dedicated for technology incubation, computers, and other infrastructural equipment to support business development activities. There will also be showrooms and shared-space meeting rooms to encourage interaction, multidisciplinary collaboration, and the exchange of ideas with internal as well as external stakeholders. The goal is to foster closer linkages between academia and industry.

AUA has been receiving support from ASHA for many years, with past projects including the renovation and expansion of the university library and cafeteria, the creation of integrated technology classrooms, the replacement of university elevators, and much more.

ASHA provides assistance to schools, libraries, and medical centers outside the United States that serve as study and demonstration centers for American ideas and practices. ASHA’s grants help these institutions train future leaders in a wide variety of disciplines, support local and regional infrastructure to foster development, and cultivate positive relationships and mutual understanding among citizens of the United States and other nations.

Founded in 1991, the American University of Armenia (AUA) is a private, independent university located in Yerevan, Armenia and affiliated with the University of California. AUA provides a global education in Armenia and the region, offering high-quality, graduate and undergraduate studies, encouraging civic engagement, and promoting public service and democratic values. 

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