Originally ASU's Department of Mass Communication was located at the Tempe Campus of Arizona State University, in what is now the Academic Services building. In 1974, the school was moved to Stauffer Hall, and was later renamed in 2001, as the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communications. It wasn't until 2008 that the school was moved to the newly opened downtown Phoenix campus, a space five times larger than its location on the Tempe campus.
A key moment for the downtown campus was the 2006 bond election in Phoenix, which voters elected to allow the city to move forward with almost $900 million in citywide constructions. This allowed ASU to move a number of colleges to the downtown campus, and pair with the city to cover the expenses of constructing the college and bringing students downtown. ASU ultimately received about a quarter of the bond, at $223 million.
The city and ASU then purchased the former Arizona public service building for $30.5 million, which included a section of vacated land. With this land came the historic US Post Office building, which was constructed in 1931 and later became the Student Center at the Post Office, but remains an active post office too. The Cronkite building currently sits on what was 4.65 acres of the vacant land just across the street. The land was originally part of Madison Motors, which was opened and built on the land in 1951, before converting into Berge Ford in 1965, with Berge moving to Mesa in later years. In later decades, businesses on the site included a dry-cleaner, a strip club, parking lots and an apartment complex. This land served as the base for the downtown campus, and later the Cronkite building.
Currently, the building is one of many buildings occupied by the busy Downtown Phoenix campus of ASU. The award-winning school currently has 1,700 students with 1,200 underclassmen. The downtown campus has a total of 2.7 million square feet of space and as of 2018 is looking to expand the campus with the construction of a new dorm building, lab space and central cooling plant.