New journalism school opening in downtown Phoenix

Posted By Mike Padgett

July 17, 2008

A new and high-tech world is opening in a few days for 1,400 students and about 60 faculty and staff at Arizona State University.

This weekend, ASU’s Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications will be moved from the outdated and crowded Stauffer Hall on the Tempe campus to the school’s new $71 million, six-story building in downtown Phoenix.

“We have so outgrown this place,” said Assistant Dean Kristin Gilger.

Gilger has been supervising the school’s administrative duties so Dean Christopher Callahan could stay focused on completion of the new school.

“He’s been very hands-on with the building, making sure everything’s in the right place and things are in order,” Gilger said.

Callahan, probably wearing a hardhat this week, was unavailable for comment. But in his welcoming statement on the school’s Web site, Callahan says the school is taking journalism training to a higher level. He calls the new building “one of the most sophisticated journalism education complexes in the nation.”

Friday, July 18, is the journalism school’s last day on the Tempe campus. Gilger and the rest of the school’s staff and faculty are finishing the packing they started weeks ago.

“I have 18 boxes piled up on one side of my office,” Gilger said. “We cleaned out the refrigerator and the coffee room today. And we unplugged the refrigerator. This is a sure sign we’re leaving.”

The only things Gilger plans to take home with her Friday night are a plant and a couple of photographs.

On Monday morning, Gilger and the rest of the faculty and staff will join Callahan at the new school at Central Avenue and Fillmore Street.

Over the weekend, a moving crew will move the stacks of boxes from the Tempe offices to the new school in Phoenix. The move should be easy because the old desks, tables, chairs and other office furniture at Stauffer will be left behind. The new school has new furniture and new computers.

Gilger’s office will be on the school’s third floor, looking west over Central Avenue.

“It makes a lot of sense for the journalism school to be in downtown Phoenix,” Gilger says.

She was referring to the school’s proximity to the offices of The Arizona Republic, public relations agencies and The Phoenix Business Journal, where students will serve internships.

Also nearby are offices of the city of Phoenix, Maricopa County, the state and the federal government, along with county and federal courts, about which the students will be writing.

In terms of technology, the building is equal to broadcast facilities throughout the Southwest, Gilger said.

The classrooms are almost finished, as are student labs. All of the office furniture is in place, along with computers. Gilger says the school’s graphic artist has been overseeing the hanging of photos in the halls and elsewhere.

“We will be showcasing some of our students’ own work, and then we’re also putting up photos of our students at work,” Gilger said.

Gilger added that the light rail system – when it becomes operational late this year – and shuttle buses will be free for students commuting between the Tempe and downtown Phoenix campuses.

The building’s design and construction team consists of Sundt Construction of Tempe; HDR Architecture of Phoenix; and Steven Ehrlich Architects of Culver City, Calif.

Jul 17th, 2008

One Comment to 'New journalism school opening in downtown Phoenix'

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  1. Doug Pruitt said,

    Mike, great to see your name in print again. This is a great project for the City of Phoenix and ASU. It was very challenging because of tight budget constraints and a tight schedule. This is the type of project our employees like being involved in because it makes us stretch and use our skills to accomplish the impossible. I appreciate the fact that you mentioned the team because collectively there had to be a lot of work, collaboration and dedication for this project to be successful. I would like to compliment HDR and Steven Ehrlich for their efforts in making this project a success.
    Although they were the owner, the City of Phoenix was also an important team member because their actions and efforts during the permitting process were critical in helping us meet our commitments. They deserve a lot of credit as well.
    Hope all is well.

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