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Origins Project will be transitioned into ASU’s Interplanetary Initiative

September 27, 2018

Arizona State University’s Origins Project is being transitioned into the Interplanetary Initiative, which is headed by Lindy Elkins-Tanton, the director of ASU’s School of Earth and Space Exploration.

The Interplanetary Initiative has the goal of building the future of humans in space to create a bolder and better society. It will do this by tackling some of the grand challenges presented before society, like: How can public and private support be galvanized for space exploration? What fundamental rules govern the self-sustainability of ecosystems for long-term space settlement? How can we successfully build thriving communities on other worlds?

Because it tackles such large questions, the initiative will draw from all university units and be problem-driven, rather than single-topic-focused as traditional science is today.

“We’re working on a new model for research and education in the university,” Elkins-Tanton said of the initiative. “Our new model is egalitarian, question-driven knowledge, rather than individual investigator-driven research. We have an experimental process for creating teams around big questions, and these teams include people from the community, from the private sector, from government, as well as the university. And we are bringing the techniques of complex problem-solving into the undergraduate curriculum. We hope to fill our society with people who are motivated and know how to solve the problems they see before them.”

Elkins-Tanton said leveraging Origins team strengths in events, building communities, creating compelling materials and communicating with the public will help propel the Interplanetary Initiative.

As part of its activities, the Interplanetary Initiative will produce a program of events that are oriented toward the future of humans in space, Elkins-Tanton said. “We will strive to include the broader community not just in staged events but in dialogue and salons,” she added.

“We are really excited about adding and expanding our offering of the Interplanetary Initiative,” Elkins-Tanton added. “We think this is going to give the Interplanetary Initiative a boost and expand its reach to the public, which will benefit all of those involved.”

Top photo courtesy of NASA

Director , Media Relations and Strategic Communications

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ASU completes $38 million in facilities upgrades during summer 2018

September 27, 2018

Arizona State University Facilities Development and Management was busy during summer 2018 opening several new buildings and completing multiple facilities upgrades. Facilities Development and Management completed more than 100 projects — a total of $38 million in investments across all campuses — in time for the start of the fall semester. 

“During summer break, a small army of ASU facility management personnel and construction contractors take advantage of the opportunity to accomplish much-needed building and infrastructure repairs and renovations during the least disruptive time,” said Bruce Nevel, Facilities Development and Management associate vice president and chief facilities officer. “This summer was no exception as we were able to accomplish an incredible number of repairs, upgrades and new construction across every campus.”

With the help of public and private support, the Tempe campus continues its growth with the conclusion of major long-term projects including Sun Devil Stadium Phase IIIBiodesign C and the Greek Leadership Village. At the Polytechnic campus, a state-of-the-art educational facility opened for the ASU Preparatory Academy’s science, technology, engineering and math programs. Facilities Development and Management also made improvements to classrooms and offices across all ASU campuses.  

Sun Devil Stadium Reinvention – Phase III

Phase III marks the completion of all general public areas of the Sun Devil Stadium Reinvention, which helped provide additional improvements to the stadium’s east side. Phase III construction highlights include:

• All-new lower bowl, concourse, upper concourse and club level.

• Addition of three concession areas and nine restrooms on the main east-side concourse.

• Completion of the main concourse that creates the first 360-degree stadium walkway.

• New southeast plaza and northeast grand staircase.

The reinvented Sun Devil Stadium is designed to be a year-round destination for conventions, meetings, offices and public events. The “450 level,” new space behind the upper east bowl, creates approximately 17,000 square feet of air-conditioned space for academic programs, academic support services and conferences.

sun devil stadium
Phase III of the Sun Devil Stadium reinvention was completed in summer 2018. Photo by ASU

Biodesign C

The $120-million Biodesign C building provides laboratory space for the ASU Biodesign Institute, the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering. The building features high-quality wet lab space for biological sciences, chemistry and engineering. Biodesign C building highlights include:

• 60,000 square feet of flexible laboratory space and office space.

• A copper skin shields the building from sun exposure.

• The world’s first compact X-ray free-electron laser.

Funded by green bonds that allow investors to invest directly in projects identified as promoting environmental sustainability, Biodesign C is tracking toward LEED Platinum certification

Greek Leadership Village

Greek organizations now have a dedicated, Tempe campus location with the Greek Leadership Village opening. The residential community, comprised of 27 town houses, surrounds open green spaces and serves as the new center for ASU fraternity and sorority life.   

With funding from American Campus Communities’ American Campus Equity Program, the $89-million project provides fraternities and sororities with an on-campus residential living and learning experience and a Greek Leadership Village Community Center, which includes these features:  

• Chapter meeting rooms.

• Council suites.

• Executive conference room.

• Fraternity and sorority life administrative offices.

• Large interior and exterior programming spaces.

• Open terrace.

• Street-level retail space.

greek leadership village
The Greek Leadership Village is on the east side of the Tempe campus. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now

Armstrong and Ross-Blakley Halls

ASU’s largest and most diverse college now has a consolidated home on the Tempe campus. The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences has relocated to Armstrong Hall, its first stand-alone building that focuses on student success. Ross-Blakley Hall, located immediately to the south, provides a new home for the Department of English and centers focusing on the humanities. Highlights of Armstrong and Ross-Blakley Halls include:

• Administrative center. 

• Advising.

• Classrooms.

• Humanities research.

• Lecture hall.

• Writing centers.

Additional capital projects

• The Thunderbird School of Global Management moved from Glendale, Arizona, to One Arizona Center near ASU’s Downtown Phoenix campus. The new location provides Thunderbird students and executive education clients with access to the most robust educational, professional and social amenities available. Renovations to three floors of the building allow for classrooms, conference rooms, student spaces, and faculty and administrative offices. Thunderbird will occupy the tower suites until the planned new Thunderbird School building, next to the Beus Center for Law and Society, opens in 2021.

• The ASU Preparatory Academy STEM High School program has a new 29,000 square-foot, two-story home on the Polytechnic campus. The building includes state-of-the-art classrooms and teaching labs, a music room, “maker space,” and a multi-purpose event room. Site amenities include a shade-sail-covered courtyard, a shaded congregation patio, a lawn and site landscaping.

• Papago Golf Course, now the new home for ASU men’s and women’s golf teams, received a new clubhouse with a golf shop and restaurant. The facility has men’s and women’s locker rooms, retail, offices, a full-service kitchen, full bar and indoor and outdoor seating. The completion of indoor and outdoor practice facilities for ASU golf wraps up this fall.

• The historic University Club on the Tempe campus underwent significant renovations that included painting and replacement of the heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems, fire alarm and chilled-water lines.

• Southwest Gas replaced a central gas line along Tyler Mall from Palm Walk to McAllister Avenue. Once the underground line was finished, new landscaping and hardscaping were added.  

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New computers await students at the Academic Center on the Polytechnic campus. Photo by ASU

Classroom, laboratory and office renovations

• Murdock Hall 201, one of the larger auditoriums on the Tempe campus at 7,000 square feet, received much-needed updates. New occupancy supports 452 people, including two instructor stations and six Americans with Disabilities Act-compliant stations. The space was renovated to meet university classroom standards with modern finishes, furniture, lighting and controls, and upgraded audiovisual amenities. New, enlarged ADA-compliant restrooms have more stalls and all new finishes, partitions, fixtures, dispensers and lighting.

• The combination of two small traditional classrooms creates one active learning classroom in the Sands Classroom and Lecture Hall on ASU’s West campus. The expanded space includes new computers, furniture and upgraded audio and visual system.

• A math laboratory was expanded into adjacent spaces for one learning classroom in the Academic Center on the Polytechnic campus. Features include new computers, furniture updates and installation of an upgraded audiovisual system. 

• An expansion of the Computing Commons on the Polytechnic campus includes updated lobby space and all new finishes and furniture. 

In total, Facilities Development and Management completed more than 60 infrastructure projects — electrical, paint, and maintenance — on classrooms, laboratories and offices throughout all ASU campuses.

These completed summer projects are only a few examples of the ASU capital projects now in some phase of planning, design or construction. Ongoing projects include the Hayden Library Reinvention, ISTB 7 construction, Health Solutions Innovation Center construction and the new Thunderbird School building in downtown Phoenix. 

Visit the ASU construction webpages to learn more about past, present and future construction projects, check out the 2018 summer construction projects PDF and follow Facilities Development and Management on Twitter.

Top photo: Hundreds of guests attended the grand opening of the new Biodesign C building on the Tempe campus in September. Photo by Charlie Leight/ASU Now.