Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication
The Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication is among the top schools in the United States for journalism students. Located in the heart of downtown Phoenix and a central part of ASU's downtown campus, the building broke ground in February 2007, and was completed in the fall of 2008. The building was named after distinguished journalist, Walter Cronkite, who was part of the opening ceremony for the building named after him. Cronkite was the host of "CBS Evening News" for 19 years and was often cited as one of the most trusted men in America. The six-story, 223,000 square foot building cost $71 million and is currently home to the studios of Arizona PBS.
Backstory and Context
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.
Leingang, Rachel. ASU helped spur downtown Phoenix's development. What's next for the university? azcentral. October 25, 2018. Accessed November 29, 2018. https://www.azcentral.com/story/news/local/phoenix/2018/10/25/asu-downtown-phoenix-dorms-lab-arts-future-michael-crow/1568857002/.
Robbins, Lisa. Cronkite takes first dig at school’s new digs. Arizona State University. February 21, 2007. Accessed November 15, 2018. https://asunow.asu.edu/content/cronkite-takes-first-dig-school%E2%80%99s-new-digs.
"View of Phoenix from the Westward Ho Hotel," McCulloch Brothers Inc. Photographs, CP MCLMB A555A. Arizona State University Libraries: Arizona Collection.
"View of Phoenix from the Westward Ho Hotel," McCulloch Brothers Inc. Photographs, CP MCLMB A560A. Arizona State University Libraries: Arizona Collection.
Wikipedia. Downtown Phoenix. October 22, 2018. Accessed November 29, 2018. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Downtown_Phoenix.