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Construction of USAID/ASHA-Funded Student Residence Underway

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YEREVAN, Armenia ‒ Having started in fall 2018, the construction of the new American University of Armenia (AUA) student residence is currently well underway. Upon completion in 2020, the facilities will accommodate over 60 students from Armenia’s regions and from abroad. As stated by AUA Provost Dr. Randall Rhodes, “Besides providing a facility to house students from Armenia’s border regions and internationally, the residence facility is being intentionally designed to enhance student learning and development through communal living, community engagement and programming, which aim to foster informal sharing of knowledge and appreciation of cultural differences among students. This will be a living-learning community modeled on best practices in the United States.”

This capital student housing project, which includes construction, renovation and furnishings, was made possible thanks to the generous grant of $999,000 by the American Schools and Hospitals Abroad (ASHA), United States Agency for International Development (USAID), awarded in March 2017. Earlier in 2016, philanthropists K. George and Dr. Carolann Najarian had donated the semi-constructed building to the University. The project will add a fourth floor to the existing three floors and other features typically designed for student activities. Located in Dzoragyugh, the ethnographic-cultural district in the center of Yerevan, the building’s architecture is reminiscent of that of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

AUA Vice President of Operations Ashot Ghazaryan noted that “Having a student residence facility has been a priority need for the institution for years and will enhance campus life. We are grateful to the Najarian family and to USAID/ASHA for making this construction possible. The western standards of construction, including use of new technologies, safety rules, innovative solutions to environmental issues, applied in the course of construction, set an example of best practices and introduce a new culture in the construction industry of Armenia.” Special attention will be paid to improving the energy efficiency of the building. Both “passive” (thermal insulation of walls and roofs, energy efficient windows, etc.), and “active” (energy recovery system, solar panels, LED lighting, conserving fixture water supply, etc.) energy-saving solutions will be applied.

Selection of the best-value bidder was made through an open and transparent bidding process launched earlier in May 2018 by the University. As a result, Care Building Services (CBS) LLC was selected for the project architectural and structural works; and Consel Ltd. for the mechanical-engineering, electrical, HVAC and low-voltage works. NST Architecture Studio will conduct authorship supervision to ensure compliance with the design and national construction requirements. A team of AUA top-tier staff is responsible for the overall management of the project.

As a partner of the Erasmus+ Boosting Armenian Universities Internationalization Strategy and Marketing (BOOST) project, AUA aims to advance its level of internationalization through active cooperation with prominent higher education institutions, through exchanges of faculty, staff and students. Having a contemporary student residence will directly contribute towards that end and further enhance the attractiveness of the University.

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.