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Arizona State University to Expand

Arizona State University (ASU) expands its borders with the construction of the ASU Mesa City Center for the Herberger Institute of Design and Arts. 

The new building will host the film and media production program at the undergraduate level with a specialization in emerging media technology. 

“The particular focus in this building is on what we call XR, extended reality technologies,” founding director of the ASU and Mesa City Center Building, Jake Pinholster explains. 

“Extended reality is anything that allows us to transition back and forth between the actual universe and a virtual universe created for the purposes of games, education, training, scenario development, and decision making.” 

The City of Mesa and ASU have partnered to create new opportunities for students and the surrounding community. 

As Mesa contributes to this new development with the construction of the City Center, ASU works to ensure to return investment by declaring the building open to the public and offering non-credit bearing classes. 

“The university, which is a huge organization, coming into a new community requires a lot of work and listening and responsibility to understand what that community is looking for in a new partner and a new neighbor,” Pinholster said. “Mesa is a richly diverse city and ASU is a richly diverse university and we had to make sure that those things were represented in this new endeavor.”

The center will represent innovation with plans to connect the community with advanced art and design. 

“Our main focus is how artists and designers can be engaged in the world and how they can make change in it,” Pinholster added. “Make sure that the world of professional art and design making is paying attention to the world it effects and comes from.” 

ASU is working towards future partnerships with members and organizations from the community including new possibilities between Mesa Community College (MCC) and ASU. 

Plans to create a new pathway into the university after receiving an associates degree at MCC are being discussed while the building and programs are being updated. 

“Hopefully we will be partnering together on some things, where they [Maricopa college students] get to know the ASU projects and people. We would be in collaboration so it would be a seamless transition for those students,” Director of Maricopa Information Technology Institute (MITI), Diane Meza said. 

The building is set to be complete in August 2021, however, classes will not be open until January 2022.

About Author

Kierra Sharman is a sophomore at Mesa Community College, majoring in journalism. She is the senior reporter for the Mesa Legend and has written for other community papers since 2016.