Block 12 Project Takes Shape in Tempe

It was two years ago that a groundbreaking ceremony announced the beginning of the Block 12 project, extending ASU campus west towards Mill Ave. Now, as summer 2014 begins, the first landmark of the project – a fancy new building at the corner of College Ave. and 7th street, just outside the north entrance to ASU campus – is nearly complete. The Del. E Webb Construction program welcomes the new building, marking the largest infrastructure investment in its 54-year history. The building will create additional permanent space along with new, state-of-the-art facilities for students on the ASU Tempe campus.

ASU Block 12 Project College Avenue Commons Building - Under Construction

ASU Block 12 Project College Avenue Commons Building – Under Construction

The building, a $54.5 million construction-masterpiece, will serve as classroom space along with large auditoriums and shaded common-area space for students cruising along College Ave. on their way to or from campus. Plans were announced for a substantial retail space as well, accommodating visiting students and those too far to navigate to the Tempe bookstore located on the opposite site of campus. The development sits in walking distance from the ASU Campus, Sun Devil Stadium, Mill Avenue, and the Tempe Transit Center. The outside of the building itself is consists of a “secondary skin” to help reduce heat from the Arizona sun.

President Michael Crow, a firm proponent of the project, said that it embodied how ASU operates: with purpose, with an objective and by making things happen. “This project has been long and coming,” Crow said. “We said it would get done, and it’s going to get done.”

The project is expected to be completed in the next few months and ready for the next wave of students come August 2014. More building plans extending the campus towards Mill Ave are expected to be announced in the future.

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Solar Panels

Summer is almost upon us in Arizona, and everyone knows just how hot the sunlight can be. ASU has been taking advantage of the heat by installing solar panels to absorb the suns rays for electricity. 

The tempe campus alone has over 70 solar panels located on parking lots, rooftops and a large structure hovering over the MU area. Jenna Thompson, a sophomore here at the Tempe campus said that, “It really provides a nice shade at the MU. Feels like 10 degrees cooler when your under that thing.” The thing she is referring to are the solar panels that hover over the MU.

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ASU solar energy department said that, “ All systems are over-producing based on initial estimates, which means they are indeed exceeding ASU’s expectations.” 

Thompson added, “With all the talk about climate change and helping the environment, it’s nice to see ASU trying to do their part.”

The installations started in 2008 and every year the energy productions has grown because of the more panels they have been installing. And in 2011, ASU was named Solar Partner of the Year by the Solar Electric Power Association (SEPA). 

One of the most eye catching panels from a view above would be the nearly 500-kilowatt installation atop the rooftops of the Wells Fargo Arena. It’s a beautiful example of how ASU is trying to be innovative and progressive in the area of solar energy. 

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Dahn Brennan, a senior as ASU, knows that the impact of solar energy is very beneficial, however he does wonder, “Does the amount of money they save by using solar energy out way the cost of building them.” He thinks that the solar energy is a great first step, but hopes in the future, research will help find cheaper ways of saving energy. 

ASU currently has 86 solar energy installations on its campuses. 74 on Tempe campus; 3 on West campus; 2 on Downtown campus; 4 on Polytechnic campus; 3 at ASU Research Park.

ASU won the 2012 Climate Leader Award and there is no reason to doubt that there will be future awards for the great progress they have made in sustainable energy. 

For more information about how much energy they are producing, click here. 

Map of the solar panels in Tempe

Solar Panels