Tucked in a hotbed of commerce on the foundation of an old high school, it’s only fitting the Arizona Center will open new offices and classrooms as part of an ongoing expansion of the Downtown campus.
The development is nearly complete. Located on the third floor, some of the University’s offices are already open and functional, even though it’s not finished.
In 2013, ASU signed a lease to rent out the space for some facilities there. Soon, the area will open up to students for classes in subjects such as foreign languages and English.
The Arizona Center has been a popular spot not just for students, but for residents from all over downtown. It attracts everyone from sports fans to art gurus on their way to First Fridays every month.
Patrick Panetta, real estate project management director at the University, said the move should help with the many classes at the downtown campus.
In such a busy part of Phoenix, some people may worry that moving offices and classrooms will create an issue with parking, especially with the Phoenix City Council’s decision last month to raise the rate of parking meters in the downtown area.
Panetta said this would not be a problem, because parking spaces accompany the leased space.
Along with Panetta, others seemed optimistic about the new location downtown. English instructor Mark Haunschild is one of these.
“We’re really excited to be in a new place,” Haunschild said.
Although the move will bring the commotion of a busy outdoor mall, Haunschild said even with the surrounding establishments, there wouldn’t be much of a problem.
“Things are more quiet (at the Arizona Center),” Haunschild said. “I think the Arizona Center is far less crowded than Taylor Mall.”
He said they are still working out all the kinks of running a new facility.
“It’s a new location,” Haunschild said. “We’re trying to help direct students through here.”
With the new expansion, the Downtown campus stretches from the Sun Devil Fitness Center on First Avenue over to the Arizona Center at Third Street. It will be the tenth building included in the campus.
Exercise and wellness freshman Darion Leahy is taking an English class this semester that could possibly end up a couple of blocks down the road at the Arizona Center in the future.
“It’s close,” Leahy said. “As long as I have time to get over there, it shouldn’t be a problem.”
Reach the reporter at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter @JonWilliams_23