Construction near Tempe campus moving forward despite pandemic

Public transportation, a research facility and a retirement center are a few projects currently progressing near ASU

Multiple construction projects around the Tempe area, including some at ASU, have been pushing through the pandemic to stay on track for completion.

Projects include public transportation, a research facility and a retirement center.

ISTB-7

ASU's Interdisciplinary Science and Technology Building-7 is scheduled to be completed in December 2021. 

The ISTB-7 building is located on the southwest corner of University Drive and Rural Road and will hold research labs for life sciences and cybersecurity. 

Senior media relations officer Gerardo Gonzalez said ISTB-7 will hold the new Julie Ann Wrigley Global Futures Laboratory, which focuses on tackling issues like climate change and renewable energy to create a more sustainable community.

“The need for continued research has never been greater as we seek to find solutions to complex challenges,” Gonzalez said. 

Gonzalez said ISTB-7 will also house the Institute of Human Origins and their "continuing education of not only college students but the K-12 community through regular tours.”

Gonzalez said the pandemic affected the construction of ISTB-7 briefly, but the "contractor was able to either change the sequence of work and find different suppliers or assemblers."

In a meeting with The State Press on Sept. 23, ASU President Michael Crow said construction of the bridge that ties ISTB-7 to the light rail station and Novus Innovation Corridor Phase III, which includes the new Hyatt Place Hotel, a parking garage and a new apartment building, are all on schedule.

READ MORE: New additions to ASU campuses include a Phoenix dorm, a bridge and more

"The Global Futures Laboratory ... is probably the largest intellectual undertaking that this University has ever done in 135 years," Crow said. "In fact, I'm sure there's nothing that we've ever done like that. And so elements of that will be into the new ISTB-7 building, so we're excited about that."

Mirabella Retirement Center

The Mirabella Retirement Center, a high-rise senior living building on ASU's Tempe campus, has been under construction since 2018 and is scheduled to open in late November.

Mirabella provides living spaces and health care for seniors who want to continue their learning and be involved in the University. 

Michelle Stermole, director of communications at ASU Enterprise Partners, said residents are excited to move in.

“Residents will begin moving in early January and will continue through the first part of 2021,” Stermole said. 

The pandemic has caused a "little bit of a delay" because of its "ripple effects," but Stermole said the construction team pushed through and the project is close to its completion.

READ MORE: Tempe kicks it old school by welcoming retirees with Mirabella at ASU

Tempe Streetcar

Conversely, COVID-19 has not caused a change in the timeline for the construction of the Tempe Streetcar. 

“With fewer pedestrians and less traffic on the streets due to COVID-19, it helps with advancing the entire construction environment,” said Susan Tierney, the communications manager at Valley Metro, Arizona's public transit system.

To encourage the use of public transportation, Valley Metro decided to implement a series of streetcars that are located around ASU's Tempe Campus, costing about $75 million.

There will be two stops that connect with the Valley Metro Rail, Tierney said. The first streetcar will be ready in December with others to follow in 2021. 

“(The) Streetcar will also help remove cars from the streets and benefit those who do not or choose to not own a vehicle,” Tierney said.

Tierney said the streetcar will connect businesses and neighborhoods for an efficient and affordable mode of transportation. 

“Tempe is one of the highest public transit ridership centers in the region and Tempe Streetcar will add yet another efficient transportation option,” Tierney said. 


Reach the reporter at anatar12@asu.edu or follow @AnushaNat1 on Twitter.

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