Dear Cooper Center Supporters,

This month's newsletter is a construction update on Phase I of our Master Plan, our new bathroom and shower facility, which is currently on hold pending additional funding. To best explain why our progress is on hold, let me quickly walk through how we arrived here.

As of fall of 2020, we forecasted that Phase I construction would cost around $500,000. With this number in hand, we turned to our supporters and successfully raised $579,155 in just a few months. By exceeding our fundraising goal, we felt confident that we could accept a bid up to 10% higher than expected. 
TUSD then authorized our project to go out to bid, and by mid-April we received multiple construction estimates ranging from $825,000 to $1.2M...much higher than expected.

Unique economic conditions, which include high materials prices and labor shortages, are causing a spike in construction costs.

We are now working with our partners at the University of Arizona and TUSD to explore funding options to bridge the gap.

We are considering two possible next steps:

• If we are able to secure the additional funding with the help of our partners, we will begin construction this summer, albeit later than we had planned, possibly affecting our fall programming.

• Or, if we are unable to secure the necessary funding though our partners, we will postpone construction until Summer 2022 and resume fundraising while also (hopefully) seeing a decline in construction costs.
In spite of this unexpected turn of events, we remain optimistic about the possibilities for funding Phase I and getting construction underway soon.

With that in mind, we are moving forward with Swaim Associates architects in drafting designs for Phases II and III: sleeping cabins and expanded indoor classroom space. We look forward to sharing these plans with you later this year.

I hope this update sheds some light on our process - we are grateful for your support and want you to keep you apprised of our progress. I should have more news for you in 4-6 weeks. And as always, if you have questions, please don't hesitate to reach out.

The Cooper Center for Environmental Learning, an outreach program of the University of Arizona College of Education, sits on the traditional homelands of the Tohono O’odham and Pascua Yaqui, who have stewarded this land from time immemorial. Aligning with Cooper Center’s and the University’s core value of a diverse and inclusive community, it is an institutional responsibility for us to recognize, represent, and acknowledge the ancestors, people, culture, and history our community resides on.

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