Skip to main content

New Student Union at Polytechnic campus a Community Affair

August 11, 2004

SOURCE: Michael Mader, 480/727-1215,

MESA, Ariz. - Arizona State University's Polytechnic campus opened its new Student Union in August in time for the start of the fall semester.

The more than 30,000-gross-square-foot structure is the first "public use" building on the campus that has been constructed from the ground up. Many of the existing public use buildings have been renovated to accommodate the needs of the campus.

As it becomes the place to meet for students at the polytechnic-focused campus, it is just one step in moving the campus forward to become more than a place for studying.

"It's vital to have a center or a heart, a place to go for students to create a sense of community, and the Union is providing that now," said Michael Mader, director of the Student Union.

The space meets the needs identified by students early on in the process. Features of the new space include a food court, with several dining options; game room; lounge space; meeting rooms and conference size spaces; indoor/outdoor dining spaces, with garage doors that open, enhancing the open feel of the Union; a branch of the ASU Bookstore; a computer lab and area; wireless capability throughout the building; meeting spaces dedicated to student organizations; and a SunCard office. Other design features include a video wall, two 42" monitors at entryways highlighting events, gallery space for students' art and exposed mechanicals in this high tech space.

As it becomes a community space, many hands from the ASU's Polytechnic campus community are contributing time and resources to complete exterior and interior touches to the Union.

Last fall, local community leaders from the East Community Advisory Council began raising the resources needed for the patio, a large courtyard adjacent to the new ballroom and other landscaping amenities.

Members of the council and supporters from the community have generously donated their time, materials, and money to help accomplish the goal of raising $200,000 in cash and in-kind contributions. Construction is scheduled to begin Sept. 13 and conclude by Oct. 1.

Students from the Graphic Information Technology program in the College of Technology and Innovation have been busy designing colorful banners that are displayed tastefully on the exterior of the Union to attract students and others. Words like "meet," "chill," "celebrate," along with images, grace the banners. Assistant Professor La Verne Harris coordinated the designing of the 15'5" by 3'5" banners. Harris plans to feature each of the students and a reproduction of the banner art in the Student Union.

Faculty Associate Anne Schutte, in School of Applied Arts & Sciences, has been donating her time to help Union staff conceive art space in the Union and the systems for displaying student, faculty and staff art.

Even the Polytechnic campus staff is getting involved by holding its own "Buy a Brick" fund-raiser to generate proceeds for amenities and future development at the Student Union.

"The community involvement in this project has been tremendous and will have a lasting impact on the new Student Union," said Mader.

A dedication of the building is planned for October 2004.