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Updated Sep 3, 2014 - 4:59 pm

ASU officially unveils College Avenue Commons building

The new College Avenue Commons. (KTAR Photo/Bob McClay)

TEMPE, Ariz. -- Arizona State University officially opened the College Avenue Commons near College Avenue and University Drive on Wednesday morning.

The new building will be the home of ASU's Del E. Webb School of Construction.

"It's about 137,000 square feet and a $54 million investment for the university," said ASU Executive Vice President Morgan Olsen. "It is designed to host our Fulton School of Engineering Unit that teaches about sustainability and construction."

Olsen called the College Avenue Commons a great addition to the university. Despite Wednesday's ribbon-cutting, classes began in the building last week.

"There are about 400 students who are taking classes at any given time in this building, and there's a larger number who will take classes over the course of a week," he said. "ASU has 17,000 engineering students, so I imagine that, at one time or another, a good portion of those will experience at least one class inside this facility."

College Avenue Commons also houses the Sun Devil Welcome center. About 10,000 high school and community college students who are considering attending ASU will begin campus tours in the building.

Olsen said the new structure will play home to more than classrooms. Several restaurants, including a new Postino location, will open soon. There's also a small and a clothing and gift store on the first floor. The second floor offers Pitchforks & Corks, a coffee and wine bar that overlooks College Avenue.

"At night or on the weekend, I can come over here and have a bite to eat," he said. "If you come to a Sun Devil sporting event, this a great place to come either during the pre-game or post-game."

The Commons will host a pregame party for home football games.

"We will be providing shade, there will be misters, there will be tables and chairs, a food truck," said Angela Creedon with ASU. "We'll have a (disk jockey), music and various lawn games for family-friendly activities."

The building offers outdoor space that features balconies with drop-down video screens, a deck and patios.

KTAR's Lauren Grifo contributed to this report.

About the Author

Years with the company: I started on January 2, 2006.

Education: I was born in San Antonio, Texas, but we moved to Phoenix when I was one-year-old in 1957. I grew up here and graduated from Alhambra High School and attended Phoenix College.

Family: I live in north Phoenix with my wife Rene' and my son Devin.

Favorite food: Lots of favorite food, but our favorite restaurant is Fajitas.

Favorite spot in Arizona: The Little America Hotel in Flagstaff.

Favorite news memory: We have to go back to October 15, 1979. I was a country music air personality at KROP Radio in Brawley, California, when we had a 6.7 earthquake. Thankfully, there were no deaths and only minor injuries, but the entire community was pretty freaked out and listening to the station on their transistor radios. I would not want to go through an earthquake again, but it sure was a great night to work in radio and see how it can make a difference in people's lives.

First job: Working as a stringer for 'The Arizona Republic' at high school football games. My first real job was flipping burgers at the old Sandy's Hamburgers at 51st Avenue and Indian School Road. My first radio job was as announcer at KALJ radio in Yuma in 1977.

First concert: My Dad took me to see Jimmy Dean at the Arizona State Fairgrounds in the 1960's. It was before the Coliseum was built. The only thing I remember is Jimmy Dean singing his big hit "Big Bad John."

Favorite sports team: Phoenix Roadrunners minor league hockey. My dad took me to a game when I was in grade school, and I was hooked. I wanted to be a radio hockey play-by-play man. I used to take my cassette recorder and sit up in the rafters of the Coliseum and do play-by-play. It was great later in life to also take my son to Roadrunners games. Too bad the team just folded, I'll miss them. (Going to the Coyotes is fun, but they're not "my" team.)

Outside interests: My family and I are active in our church - Shiloh Community Church in Phoenix. Devin is a high school student at Scottsdale Christian Academy. He plays on the baseball, football, and basketball teams and sings in the choir. Obviously, we keep busy trying to go to all his events! We enjoy going to movies, sporting events, and long road trips. We like to vacation at the Beach Cottages in the Pacific Beach area of San Diego. And I love to play catch, basketball, football with my son.


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