ASU rents more space in Washington, D.C. for expanding programs

The ABOR approved ASU to rent out an additional 8,400 square feet in D.C.

Just one year after the opening of the ASU Barbara Barrett and Sandra Day O’Connor Washington Center, the University has plans underway to further expand its D.C. footprint.

The Arizona Board of Regents recently approved a deal for ASU to rent out additional office space in Washington, D.C. to accommodate growing programs such as the McCain Institute for International Leadership, Cronkite News and the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law.

The deal will allow ASU to lease 8,400 square feet of office space from the seventh floor of a building across the street from the Barbara Barrett and Sandra Day O'Connor Washington Center.

Read more: New center helps ASU make its mark in Washington, D.C.

The location in Washington, D.C., is crucial to some of the programs housed there, such as the McCain Institute and Cronkite News' D.C. bureau. 

Luke Knittig, the senior director of communications for the McCain Institute, said the D.C. location provides beneficial real-world experience for students involved in the institute's the programs.

“It’s critically important that you’re in Washington because a lot of the policy and the major governmental players and non-governmental players are headquartered and collaborate in Washington,” Knittig said. 

The University's Washington presence continues to expand, Knittig said, in part because of feedback from supporters of the programs based there.

"The supporters said, 'We like what we see, we want you to expand,'" he said. "When that happens, it means more people, more resources and you need more space."

Knittig said the institute has many programs that have had "large areas of growth" within the last year, including its human trafficking program and brand new counter-terrorism programs. A new program called Mavericks Needed was also added after the death of late Arizona Sen. John McCain.

The ABOR approved the new D.C. building on Feb. 8, which is right across the street form the 32,000-square-foot, eight-story Barbara Barrett and Sandra Day O'Connor Washington Center located two blocks away from the White House. 

The existing $35 million ASU building in D.C., which opened in 2018, already houses the McCain Institute, Cronkite News and the Sandra Day O'Connor College of Law alongside additional features, such as a Decision Theater and the University Technology Office.

While the new 8,400-square-foot space will house growing programs already based in D.C., the University is still deciding what exactly will be housed within the building.

"At this time, we haven’t made a decision what will go across the street and what will stay in the Barrett and O’Connor Center," a University spokesperson said in a written statement. 

According to the deal approved in February, the annual lease rate of the new space is $64.50 per square foot, which comes to almost $542,000 for the building’s first year of rent. This price is subject to increase by 2.5 percent every year.

The initial lease is meant for 10 to 12 years, but to allow for flexibility, ASU has the option to terminate its lease after five years if desired. 

Steve Crane, the director of the Cronkite School's Washington operations, said the expansion could help support the school's D.C. program, which acts like a “teaching hospital” in that students are not "student reporters" but real journalists with congressional credentials.

Crane said that the location is crucial to Cronkite News because experience in the field offers a different perspective than what students experience inside the classroom.

“The face time you get with not just lawmakers and policy makers, but people who come here to testify, people who bring their grief, their beliefs and their complaints to Washington ... you kind of have to be there for that,” he said.

Danielle Coble, a senior studying journalism and mass communication with a minor political science who spent last summer in D.C. with Cronkite News, said going to D.C. for the program helped prepare her for the real world.

"Politics changes," Coble said. "I was halfway through a story once, and they totally changed the situation about it. You have to think on the spot, 'how am I going to change my entire story in under an hour?'"

Crane said he has been there since the beginning of the D.C. bureau, and that he has seen the growth of Cronkite News in D.C. and its other locations.

"Before D.C., the bureaus ran in fall and spring," Crane said. "We run breaks. The bureaus are now providing copies five days a week, 52 weeks a year."


Reach the reporter at mzhao49@asu.edu and follow @michelle_zhao23 on Twitter. 

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