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Wilson Hall to be demolished, replaced with new building after nearly 70 years of operation

The historic building which once housed the School of Social Transformation will be replaced by a new five-story building set to be completed in 2024

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ASU is tearing down Wilson Hall in Tempe and constructing a new five-story, mixed classroom and office building. The building is estimated to be completed in August 2024.

After the demolition of Wilson Hall on the Tempe campus begins in the summer, a new five-story building will be constructed. 

The building will house classrooms, office spaces and other resources to support student success, said University spokesperson Jerry Gonzalez in an emailed statement.

Located just southwest of Hayden Lawn and Hayden Library, Wilson Hall was named after ASU's first benefactor, George Washington Wilson, who served as a maintenance supervisor for 25 years until he died in 1916. The hall first served as a women's dormitory when it was originally constructed in 1956. The hall later transformed into a University classroom building in 1972.

Wilson Hall previously housed all departments within the School of Social Transformation including African and African American Studies and Asia Pacific American Studies. But in order to start construction, the students and faculty had to relocate to a new location on the Tempe campus last year. 

According to Gonzalez, Wilson Hall has been not been occupied for about a year. The School of Social Transformation was the main occupant of Wilson Hall and has since relocated to the new Novus 777 Tower.

Novus 777 Tower is a new building located on the corner of University Drive and Rural Road. The six-story building was completed in July 2020 and is 84% leased to ASU and Infosys.

Gonzalez said the purpose of the new and improved building that is replacing Wilson Hall is to serve the ASU community as it will also include a student services space.

"I can see the history and the significance of it, although I remember there was some things that could have been improved throughout the building," said Lizbeth Duran, a senior studying social work. "It's a good idea in theory, I know ASU has the money for it, depends if the staff and faculty who work in it (Wilson Hall) would be supportive."

Duran said when the building was still in operation, she recalled multiple areas being shut down or closed because of maintenance issues and having to find another route to class.

The new 178,000 gross-square-foot building is planned to have a balcony space, partial basement to support the building services, and a mechanical penthouse on the roof. The cost of this new building is $107 million. 

The School of Transformation will occupy the entire fifth floor of the new building. There will also be a floor dedicated to research labs and observation rooms, according to Patrick Kenney, dean of The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

“It's a positive because it was a very old building, and the School of Social Transformation had a lot of worries about being in that building. They love the location, because the location is right in the heart of the main campus,” said Kenney. “But there were some restaurants in there, the smell was stripped throughout. Some of the plumbing systems didn't work very well. It was just an old building. And of course, it was so much smaller.”

The project is expected to finish in August 2024. According to Gonzalez, other potential occupants could be departments from CLAS, Student Accessibility and Inclusive Learning Services and general University classrooms.

“We'll be lucky if we get another 70 years out of this brand new building,” said Kenney.

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Andrea RamirezCommunity Reporter

Andrea Ramirez is a part-time reporter at The State Press. She has previously worked for The State Press for Spring ‘23. 

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