ASU, Town of Payson to assess higher ed possibilities
The Town of Payson and ASU have concluded an initial memorandum of understanding (MOU) to examine and analyze all the elements needed to establish an ASU higher education program in Payson.
The effort is in support of the Arizona Board of Regent’s goal to provide a wide range of educational opportunities in Arizona through differentiated learning environments, geographical choices in where to attend college and different cost structures. For its part, Payson seeks to create a more vibrant and diverse economic base on which to build its future prosperity. Payson has committed to providing the campus facilities needed for ASU to create high-quality academic programs that would be supported by a mix of tuition and new – yet to be identified – state funding.
“We look forward to working with the city in this planning effort,” said Rich Stanley, ASU senior vice president and university planner. “The city has shown leadership and vision in undertaking this initiative.”
Payson has been working independently for four years on the concepts for the logistical, financial and architectural design of a mixed-use project that would have at its core a high-quality higher education institution. ASU now is joining that team to help analyze the feasibility and means by which this can be accomplished.
In addition, the city seeks to advance its sustainability efforts by building the first LEED Platinum/BREEAM campus. LEED, an acronym for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, is a building certification program for improved environmental design managed by the U.S. Green Building Council. BREEAM, or the Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method, aims to minimize environmental impact by ensuring sustainability best practices are in place while also lowering organizations' costs through energy efficiency.
“Raising $500 million dollars is a tough task in today’s economic climate," said Payson Mayor Kenny Evans. "The vision, foresight and courage of President Crow and the Board of Regents inspired Payson’s educational dream team to go the extra mile to make this dream come true. From cottage dorms to a wireless communitywide learning experience, this campus holds the potential to truly be cutting-edge. We believe Payson offers an ideal living and learning environment that will attract students and faculty from a wide area.”
The creation of a new college in a new setting is a complex task and will require the additional expenditure of significant time and resources for planning and construction. The city and the university have committed to work diligently and deliberately to ensure that the campus planning process moves forward on a sound foundation.
It is anticipated that the ASU planning team and the Payson charrette group will form a single committee in the next few weeks with several specialized subcommittees. The subcommittees will tackle the design implications for what will emerge as ASU’s teaching model and curriculum for the campus programs; the general layout of the college and its associated facilities; the infrastructure development requirements on and off site; the fiscal and physical challenges for the various proposed components; and the feasibility modeling that will be required to produce the world-class learning center which was envisioned at the start of discussions over two years ago.
Signing of this MOU is a major step forward in providing world class education at an affordable price.