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UA faculty celebrate Student Success District's grand opening

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An overview of the 9-acre Student Success District — set to be completed by spring 2022 — that shows the Main Library, the new Bartlett Academic Success Center, Bear Down Gym, and the Albert B. Weaver Science-Engineering Library. The district is meant to be a centralized location for all things academic support. (Courtesy Kenya Johnson)

On Wednesday, April 13, the University of Arizona had its grand opening of the Student Success District. The Student Success District consists of the renovation of the Bear Down Gymnasium and the installation of the Bartlett Academic Success Center, which connects the Main Library and the Weaver Science and Engineering Library. 

“The Student Success District is designed to provide innovative student support and has transformed the part of campus that serves our students best,” UA President Dr. Robert C. Robbins said. “I could not be more proud of the way these spaces have been envisioned and are coming to life as an intersection of libraries, collaborative common areas, maker spaces and many services for students; it's a one-stop-shop.” 

The renovation of the Bartlett Academic Success Center was the final stage in the completion of the Student Success Center. In this building, there is tutoring, academic advising and career and engagement support. 

“The renovation and construction of these buildings is an implementation of our strategy to adapt to the future needs of our students and our state, [from] recruitment and initial enrollment to timely graduation and a course to achieve their hopes and dreams and go out and make the world a better place,” Robbins said. 

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The vision, according to Robbins, has always been to combine the two libraries without getting rid of Bear Down Gymnasium. With its transformation into Bear Down Building, the UA was able to save the gym while incorporating other resources like a market and private study rooms. 

Liesl Folks, senior vice president of academic affairs and provost, oversees all student services at UA, now including that of the Student Success District.

“We want to create an environment, as Bear Down Gym has always done, that helps students get to know one another and supports the development of long-term friendships,” Folks said. “We know that when they feel a sense of belonging here at the university, they are much more likely to persist in their degrees.” 

Elaina Tellez is a senior at the UA and also a student coordinator for both the Thrive Guides program during the academic year and a New Step Program during the summer. Tellez has been able to work in the Bear Down Gym and see just how beneficial these resources are for students. 

“My roles on campus, in the past as a peer mentor and now as a student coordinator, have taught me that college can be a huge challenge for many students,” Tellez said. "I know firsthand how important finding a community with academic and social resources is. I encourage all students to come and utilize these services and programs offered in the Student Success District because they are the things that will help you not just get through your time as a student, but truly succeed with everything you need to accomplish.” 

The Bartlett Academic Success Center is open Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m., as well as Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Weekend and holiday hours may vary. 


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