A new dorm, lab space and a central cooling plant could be coming to downtown Phoenix as part of Arizona State University’s continued expansion.
ASU President Michael Crow said he sees the downtown campus as being only halfway to its goal.
ASU now has about 12,000 students in downtown Phoenix. The school probably needs two more dorms and another classroom building to accommodate growth, Crow said.
“Could we have a 20,000-student campus in the center of downtown Phoenix? Probably,” Crow said.
He wants to see more programs and space for the school downtown, and he has a grand vision for upping Phoenix’s downtown profile.
“We want to have the greatest journalism school that humans have ever built. We want to have a nursing college that’s, like, unbelievable. … All in all, we’re about 50 percent of the way towards being this really, really powerful, the best of the best of the best, urban campuses in the country,” he said.
When will ASU reach 100 percent, in Crow’s eyes?
“For me, it’s like, we need to do it tomorrow,” he said.
Realistically, he thinks a lot can be achieved in the next five or six years.
ASU currently has 32 buildings and nearly 2.7 million square feet of space in downtown Phoenix.
Its main buildings are University Center, the historic post office, the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law, the College of Nursing and Health Innovation, Taylor Place residence hall, the Phoenix Biomedical Campus, Mercado and Grant Street Studios in the Warehouse District.
ASU has space in other landmark buildings downtown, too, including the Arizona Center and the Westward Ho building.
WHAT COULD BE COMING?
Several projects are already in the works for ASU in downtown Phoenix.
The university announced last year that the Thunderbird School of Global Management, previously based in Glendale, would relocate to a spot downtown next to the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law.
The new school is expected to open in 2021. Thunderbird students are taking classes this semester in rented space at the Arizona Center.
Other plans are not as firm, but ASU has mentioned a new dorm, lab space, central plant and office building in public documents. ASU’s most recent Capital Improvement Plan mentions multiple projects, though these plans can change, and scant details are available at this time.
Here’s what else could be on the way:
Innovation dorm:ASU has been named No. 1 in innovation by U.S. News & World Report for the past four years. Now, that innovation is moving into the dorms. ASU plans to build an innovation-themed dorm just north of the downtown YMCA. It will house between 250 and 450 students and target upperclassmen and graduate students, including those attending Thunderbird. The dorm would be builtas a public/private partnership, as many of ASU’s recent dorms have been.
Crow said students who live there would have the opportunity to start and incubate companies in the building. The downtown campus will probably need another regular dorm eventually as well, Crow said.
Lab building:ASU partnered with private research company Wexford Science and Technology on more lab space near the Phoenix Biomedical Campus downtown. Wexford will own the seven-story building, expected to open in 2019, and ASU plans to rent about half the building. ASU has budgeted $40 million for the project.
Central plant: ASU’s most recent Capital Improvement Plan filed with the Arizona Board of Regents mentions an idea to partner with the University of Arizona on a chilled water central plant to supply the two schools’ cooling needs downtown.
“The plant will provide chilled water to meet current and future needs at a substantially reduced rate, resulting in increasing savings as existing supplier contracts expire,” the plan says.
New building for the arts: The Capital Improvement Plan mentions a new office and classroom building to accommodate the increased academic programs downtown, including a “new, centralized location for the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts.”
Parking structure: The plan also calls for a 500-800 space parking structure downtown to meet demand. The structure would have mixed commercial and retail use on the ground level, the plan says.