With Sun Devil Stadium to the north and much of the Tempe campus to the south, the newly dedicated College Avenue Commons is part of the leading edge of the University in terms of location, design and the opportunities it will bring to students.
The building was dedicated Wednesday with speeches by several University and City of Tempe officials and a ribbon cutting to officially open the classrooms, wine and coffee bar and campus store.
These stores and the facility’s location on College Avenue are all meant to draw students and residents to the area, ASU Executive Vice President Morgan Olsen said.
“As we thought about what we needed to accomplish with this facility, we knew we wanted to create a place that people would be attracted to,” he said. “We wanted it to have magnetism and be a place where people wanted to be.”
The new College Avenue Commons building will house the Del E. Webb School of Construction, which is part of the School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment under the network of the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering.
Aside from classrooms, it features Sun Devil Marketplace, a new campus store that sells both apparel, technology and books, and wine and coffee bar Pitchforks and Corks. There will also be a Grab-and-Go Market with food and snacks for on-the-go students and faculty.
The building will also be home to the Student Welcome Center, with campus tours departing from the building rather than the Student Services Center, Olsen said.
“Once we have sold them on being a Sun Devil, (we will) sell them their first ASU shirt at Sun Devil Market Place,” he said.
University President Michael Crow said the building represents an investment in the students who will attend class inside and use the facility, but the students also invested in the building through their support of the University.
“This is a fantastic manifestation of what we are trying to do, which is to connect to everybody and to link to everybody and to advance this public institution for the betterment of the present and the future of Arizona going forward,” Crow said.
Tempe Mayor Mark Mitchell said that the partnership between ASU and Tempe has been invaluable and the new building is part of their efforts to connect the downtown district.
“What we need to look at now from our council’s perspective is how do we connect the entire downtown area from College to Farmer, and this is a huge start,” Mitchell said.
The facility was designed by Gensler/Architekton and constructed by Okland Construction, but about 30 alumni and interns were also able to take part in the process.
The building also presents a teaching opportunity for the engineering students who will take classes there because the architect and builders were sure to highlight some of the key systems that are usually hidden behind walls.
Edd Gibson, director of the School of Sustainable Engineering and the Built Environment said the new facility will allow both the University and the engineering programs advance and receive more recognition.
“We will ultimately be judged by the people who occupy this building in the coming decade and the value and impact they bring to the world around us,” he said.
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