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IRVINE, CA-The 240–unit first phase of a new development intended to expand the supply of student housing at UC Irvine has opened in time for the fall semester, according to Newport Beach-based JBZ Architecture & Planning, which is the designer for the development as part of a design-build team headed by Hensel Phelps of Greeley, CO.The project is called Palo Verde Graduate Student Housing and is designed for graduate students in what the architectural firm describes as UCI’s “efforts to offer quality living accommodations for students at current market rates.” The university hired Hensel Phelps to design-build the expansion of the Palo Verde Graduate Student Housing, and Hensel Phelps in turn contracted JBZ as the executive architect for the complex. Besides serving as coordinator for the design build team, Hensel Phelps is the general contractor for the construction phase. The final phase of the project is due to open in early 2005.JBZ reports that the project is being built to absorb the increasing number of new graduate students at UCI, which is the fourth-largest school in the nine-campus UC system. The Palo Verde expansion project will provide 448 housing units comprising 882 beds in 14 four-story buildings. Also included in the building program is a 14,000-sf community building. The Spanish-styled project, which occupies 22 acres, features colored concrete walkways and bike paths, and plaza areas with barbeques, trellises and park benches. The studios, apartments and townhomes range from 400 sf to 1,270 sf in units of one, two and three bedrooms.Tom Lim, project manager for JBZ on the development, says the designers and builders had to meet “an extremely accelerated schedule” in order to complete Phase I in time for the fall semester. The university has submitted this project to the United States Green Build Council (USGBC) for LEED Silver Certification.

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