Arizona Game and Fish Building Wins National Award

From our friends at the Arizona Game and Fish Department:

Courtesy of Arizona Game and Fish Department

Courtesy of Arizona Game and Fish Department

The Arizona Game and Fish headquarters office has won The Outstanding Building of the Year (TOBY) Award of 2013-2014 at the Building Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) International Annual Conference on June 24 in Orlando, Florida.

The commercial real estate industry honored 14 properties. The Arizona Game and Fish building, winner in the Government category, was recognized for excellence in the areas of “green” technologies, cost-effective building management and operations, sustainability, access for disabled people, and overall excellence.

The Arizona Game and Fish Department (AZGFD) headquarters was built in 2007 and is located at 5000 W. Carefree Highway, Phoenix, Ariz.  The facility became one of the first Arizona State government buildings to receive a Platinum-certified designation, the highest ranking awarded by U.S. Green Building Council program for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED).

“Environmentally-friendly features added about 15 percent to the total cost,” said Arizona Game and Fish Department Development Branch Chief Mark Weise. “Initial construction costs were higher, but day-to-day operations and maintenance expenses are lower because they are usually handled in-house by department personnel.”

An Energy Star rooftop solar system generates 23 percent of the building’s annual energy needs. An agreement with Alpha Technology Inc. keeps solar power rates the same for 20 years. An efficient air-cooled chiller will pay for itself in less than five years. Natural light portals bring in winter daylight and temper summer heat. Many regionally harvested materials were used. Xeriscaping, native plants and drip irrigation hold down water and landscaping costs.

 Have you visited this building? If not, you ought to plan a trip.


Filed under Eco Issues, Et Cetera, News

National Parks Brought $774 Million to Arizona in 2013

Walnut Canyon National Monument | Courtesy of National Park Service

Walnut Canyon National Monument | Courtesy of National Park Service

A report released this month by the National Park Service shows that visitors to Arizona’s national parks in 2013 spent $773.9 million and supported nearly 12,000 jobs in the state.

More than 10 million people visited national parks in Arizona last year, the report says. Nationwide, nearly 275 million people visited national parks in 2013, and those visits created a benefit of $26.5 billion to the U.S. economy.

The peer-reviewed study also confirms a common statement about America’s national parks: For every $1 invested in parks, $10 in economic benefit is created.

Arizona’s 2013 numbers were up from 2012, when just under 10 million people visited national parks in the state. Those visitors created $745.6 million in economic benefit. That’s despite the 16-day government shutdown that closed national parks in October 2013. Park visitation and economic impact were down slightly nationwide as a result of the shutdown, the study says.

To view and download the full report, visit

1 Comment

Filed under News

Friday Fotos: Escape Plan

Aaron Newman | Lava River Cave

Aaron Newman | Lava River Cave

As always, we enjoyed your takes on this week’s Friday Fotos theme, “great escapes.” Where will you escape to this weekend?

See you next week!

By submitting photographs to Arizona Highways via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr or other social networking sites, the photographer grants Arizona Highways electronic rights. No financial consideration will be paid to anyone for publication on the Arizona Highways blog or website.

By publishing a photographer’s work to its blog, Arizona Highways does not endorse the photographer’s private business or claim responsibility for any business relationships entered into between the photographer and our readers.


Filed under Friday Fotos, Photography

Throwback Thursday: Arizona Highways, July 1965



From the issue: “Fishing a quiet stretch of trout water along Cibecue Creek, midway between Cibecue Indian village and White Spring Ranger Station on the Fort Apache Indian Reservation.” Photograph by Robert B. Whitaker.



Filed under Covers, Throwback Thursday

Salt River Canyon Rest Stop to Reopen This Fall

Rex Lavoie | Salt River Canyon

Rex Lavoie | Salt River Canyon

After being closed for several years, the Salt River Canyon rest stop along U.S. Route 60 will reopen this fall, our bosses at the Arizona Department of Transportation announced last week.

The rest area has been closed because of a lack of funding for improvements, but several rest areas around Arizona have been improved through an ADOT program that began in 2011.

Crews will improve the area’s restrooms, repave the parking lot and add new signs, among other renovations. The rest area will be maintained by a private company that has partnered with ADOT.

(The photo above is not the rest stop. It’s not in that bad of shape.)


Filed under News

Q&A: History Buffs Fight to Save 1930s Building on State Fairgrounds

WPA Administration Building | Courtesy of Will Novak, Phoenix Historic Neighborhood Coalition

WPA Administration Building | Courtesy of Will Novak, Phoenix Historic Neighborhood Coalition

As you might have heard last week, plans to demolish a 1930s-era building at the Arizona State Fairgrounds are on hold after preservation activists intervened on its behalf. The fate of the building, known variously as the State Fair Civic Building and the WPA Administration Building, is now in limbo pending a hearing today (Tuesday, July 22) at the fairgrounds.

What makes this building worthy of preservation? We reached out to Vincent Murray, a historian with Arizona Historical Research, for more information about its past and why some believe it should be preserved. If you’d like to attend today’s meeting, it’s at 4 p.m. in the second-floor Board Room in the Arizona Coliseum, 1826 W. McDowell Road in Phoenix. (Stop by the Arizona Highways gift shop while you’re in the area!)

Q: Tell us a little about the history of the building.
A: The WPA Administration Building was built in 1938 by the Works Progress Administration as its state headquarters. The WPA was a New Deal agency that provided employment and other services for millions of Americans, including tens of thousands of Arizonans (our population was less than half a million at the time). When the program ended in 1943, the building was used as the headquarters for AiResearch, one of Arizona’s early technology industries, and as exhibit space. This latter use is why it is sometimes referred as the Florticulture, Horticulture and Civic Building.

Q: What state is the building in currently?
A: The building hasn’t been well maintained. While state agencies are required by law to maintain and preserve historic buildings, the Arizona Exposition and State Fair Commission has been negligent in their duties. So, the building is in need of a new roof, as well as some minor structural repairs. Instead of performing the repairs, as required by law, the commission has decided to demolish the building. This decision was made without consultation of the State Historic Preservation Officer, which is also required by law. Had they followed the letter and intent of Arizona’s historic-preservation laws, they would have discovered that the cost for restoration was a fraction of their current $800,000 quote. They also would have a better idea of how the preservation of the building may qualify for tax incentives, its adaptive use and its potential for a return on an investment.

Q: What, in particular, makes this building worthy of being preserved, rather than demolished?
A: While we see a lot of the results of the WPA programs in Arizona, such as the park structures and sidewalks with the recognizable oval WPA stamp, and books, oral histories, artwork, etc., these are the results of the people who worked for the agency. But there is nothing that represents the human element, the decision-making process. This is where the direction for those efforts was located, the headquarters for the programs. Also, in keeping with the local support effort, this building was designed to be used as exhibit space after the end of the programs and the lease with the state.

Q: How can people get more information about, or contribute to, the preservation effort?
A: The Arizona Preservation Foundation has a website, You can find information and updates about the building under “endangered properties.” Not all old buildings need to be saved, but if we take the time to look into the history of places and think outside of the box on how places can be used for other purposes, we often see that demolition isn’t the best route, that alternatives really do make sense.


Filed under Et Cetera, History, News