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ASU breaks ground on its 1st building in downtown Mesa

(KTAR News Photo/Griselda Zetino)

MESA, Arizona — Arizona State University broke ground Friday on its first academic building in downtown Mesa.

It will be called ASU @ Mesa City Center.

The 118,000-square-foot building will house programs offered by the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts. The programs will teach students how to use augmented reality, virtual reality, 3D modeling and visualization.

“ASU will be training the workforce of the future right here in Mesa, and the business world has its eyes on us,” Mayor John Giles said at the groundbreaking ceremony.

He added the building is already attracting interest from major companies interested in emerging technology.

The campus is expected to open to about 800 students and faculty in time for the spring 2022 semester.

The ground floor will include a large exhibition gallery, screening theaters and production studios.

The upper floors will have a mix of flexible classrooms and innovating spaces.

The facility will also include a 3,000-square-foot studio where users can create augmented realities and map virtual spaces onto physical environments.

The building will cost $73.5 million, with ASU funding $10 million and the city of Mesa covering the rest. ASU has also committed to cover ongoing operations and maintenance costs, which are estimated to be $1.3 million annually.

Giles called the partnership between the city and ASU “a game changer” that will help Mesa on its way to becoming an innovation district.

ASU President Michael Crow pledged the university’s “endearing and forever support of advancing this city to all of its aspirational selves and to all of the things that it hopes to achieve.”

Crow added that the construction of ASU @ Mesa City Center is just the beginning for the area.

The building is the first of several buildings ASU plans to open in downtown Mesa. The university also plans to open a gathering place called The Plaza @ Mesa City Center and turn the city’s first library into The Studios @ Mesa City Center.

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