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  #1  
Old Posted Dec 2, 2006, 1:16 PM
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Southeast Valley Development News

http://www.elevationchandler.com

Chandler project's developer gets loan
$24 million to help get through a year

Luci Scott
The Arizona Republic
Dec. 2, 2006

The developer of a partly built hotel-condo project next to Chandler Fashion Center has obtained a $24 million bridge loan, saving the project from a foreclosure auction that was scheduled for February.

"All those debts and liens and subcontractors and general contractor and Mortgages Limited and all those people . . . will be marching down to the title company to pick up their checks," said Richard Rollnick, CEO of Landmark Realty Capital of Scottsdale, which issued the loan.

The general contractor, Weitz Co., and multiple subcontractors are owed about $5.8 million, plus attorney's fees and interest.

The amount that developer Jeff Cline owes to the original lender, Mortgages Ltd., is unknown, but a default on a loan of $3.45 million from that company triggered the foreclosure action. The entire amount he owes the company is thought to be more.

Cline, developer of the Elevation Chandler project, "now has a year to put all the rest of the financing pieces in place, and we're confident he will," Rollnick said.

This loan won't be enough to let Cline resume construction on the project. Work on the project had stopped in April.

The bridge loan is only for the next year. But it gives Cline breathing room to find an equity lender to allow him to continue construction.

The 10-acre project is expected to cost roughly $250 million. That includes an eight-story hotel topped with two floors of condominiums, a second 15-story condo tower, parking garage and fitness center.

"We're very happy to see that the project may be resuming progress in the near future," said Doug Ballard, Chandler's director of planning and development.

"Obviously it's going to have to come through the permitting process again."

When construction stopped, workers were operating under a permit to construct the building's shell that has expired.

"Assuming there's no real changes to those plans, it shouldn't take us very long at all" to re-issue the shell permit, Ballard said.

One of the subcontractors, Tim Drexler, owner of Ace Asphalt of Arizona, was skeptical about whether he would go back to the site. Before returning, he would need reassurances that he would be paid.

The fact that he had to file a mechanic's lien has tainted the project, he said. "It won't be an automatic yes we're going finish the project."
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  #2  
Old Posted Sep 12, 2009, 12:10 AM
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I would be absolutely amazed if Mesa could pull something like Waveyard off.

Unfortunately, their record is against them.
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  #3  
Old Posted Sep 18, 2009, 2:32 AM
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Mesa struggles with first impressions from freeway views
48 comments by Jim Walsh - Sept. 17, 2009 11:52 AM
The Arizona Republic
Few would argue that Mesa's western gateway on the Loop 202 makes a good first impression.

While Scottsdale has freeway walls decorated with artistic cactus and geckos and Tempe has Town Lake, drivers entering Mesa are treated to views of a wastewater treatment plant, cement companies and sand and gravel operations.

The difference is that Scottsdale and Tempe paid for the upgrades, which Mesa can't afford. The result is that in a culture where image is everything, the first image thousands of people see when they enter the nation's 38th largest city each day isn't pretty.

Heading east on the 202, drivers coming into Mesa pass a pockmarked landscape of barren river bottom dominated by large piles of rock and heavy equipment on the Salt River Pima Maricopa Indian Community to the north.

On the south side is the treatment plant, large stretches of bladed desert and a massive gravel pit. The only relief in the first two miles is the Mesa Riverview shopping area.

"You're right, it's ugly," said Stephanie Wright, co-chair of the Mesa Grande Community Alliance neighborhood group.

Tanya Collins, Mesa Grande's other co-chair, said that one of the biggest eyesores is "the big hole," a 100-foot deep gravel pit run by Johnson Stewart company south of Loop 202 and west of Alma School Road.

"We'd love to see it become more attractive to make that entrance to Mesa look better," Collins said.

Collins, a retired Mesa city employee, said the area needs to think big to have an appealing future. For instance, she'd love to see the gravel pit turn into a lake.

"It's been there a long time and it's been a nuisance to the neighborhood a long time," she said, recalling a time years ago when operation of a batch plant at night would create dust and noise.

A spokesman for Johnson Stewart said the 100-foot deep pit would probably be mined for another five years. Reclamation already is underway, with the part nearest Alma School getting filled with concrete and dirt.

The spokesman said the mine, which dates back to 1946 in the Johnson family, has tried to be a good neighbor by planting eucalyptus trees to block the view from nearby neighborhoods. The mine donated materials to build McLellan Road between Alma School and Country Club Drive and a runway at the former Williams Air Force Base, now Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport.

"These are responsible operators and they're doing a great job," said Steve Trussell, executive director of the Arizona Rock Products Association.

He said the industry has helped power Arizona's growth, supplying concrete for highways, foundations for houses and other purposes. The mines need to be near transportation and markets to keep costs down.

"There are things we might not be excited about but are necessary," Trussell said.

Although Mesa may never have the money decorative sound walls along the Loop 202, the city has at least two long-term hopes for the area's transformation, but neither is a sure thing.

Drivers could be greeted by such refreshing images as kayakers navigating whitewater or surfers riding a wave if the Waveyard water resort is built near the water treatment plant.

"It's an extremely unexpected scenario," said Richard Mladick, Waveyard's co-founder. "We view all this as a tremendous opportunity. The visibility is one of things that make it such a great site."

And Va Shly'ay Akimel, a major Salt River ecosystem restoration project that has been a dream for nearly a decade, is inching closer with a major assist from $645,000 in federal stimulus money.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers are hiring a consultant to design the first leg of the 14-mile project between the Loop 101 bridge and Alma School Road.

However neither Waveyard nor Va Shly'ay Akimel are certainties.

Waveyard is behind schedule from the recession and just received an extension of a development agreement from the Mesa City Council. Va Shly'ay Akimel is a $161.2 million project and whether it gets built depends on future federal expenditures.

Mike Ternak, Va Shly'ay Akimel's project manager for the Army Corps of Engineers, has never been more optimistic. He said the project was authorized by Congress in 2007 through the Water Resources Development Act, clearing a path toward eventual construction.

The dusty gray scar that stretches through the east Valley would gradually turn greener and would have actual wetlands.

"I think it's going to be a great opportunity visually to improve what the river looks like," Ternak said.

Planned to reverse 100-years of degradation, the project would rechannel the river, provide reliable water sources to restore natural vegetation and create a trail system on the south side.

Even if the federal money kept flowing, it would take 10 years to gradually build Va Shly'ay Akimel in stages, Ternak said.

Ternak said the Johnson Stewart mine is outside Va Shly'ay Akimel's footprint, however other operations, particularly on the north side of the freeway, including CEMEX, Maricopa Ready Mix and Salt River Mining Group, could be affected.
I hadn't heard of this Akimel plan before but it sounds nice. The Salt River like I've said before is this amazing untapped resource and really should be a giant linear park and wetlands area through the entire stretch of urbanized area in the Valley, its nice to see Mesa planning ahead for once and perhaps doing something to make that a reality.
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  #4  
Old Posted Oct 11, 2009, 11:03 PM
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Quote:
Gila River talks with Chicago Cubs angers Mesa mayor
33 comments by Jim Walsh - Oct. 9, 2009 12:30 PM
The Arizona Republic
Representatives from the Gila River Indian Community met with the Chicago Cubs about building a new training facility for the team, a move that upset Mesa Mayor Scott Smith.

Alia Maisonet, a Gila River spokeswoman, confirmed the meeting but denied the community has entered into the bidding process for the Cubs, the Cactus League's meal ticket as perennial attendance champions.

"We have looked at the Cubs," she said. "No, we have not entered into a formal bidding process. No formal offer was discussed."

The Cubs have trained in Mesa for the better part of 50 years and the city has built the team three different stadiums, but the team can opt out of its contract early next year.

Smith said he was told by the Cubs that the Gila River tribal representatives had met with them in Chicago. He said he's not happy about the tribe trying to "steal" the Cubs.

"I think it's counter-productive to the Cactus League. I think this hurts our region," Smith said.

Smith and other Mesa officials have been working to put together a proposal to build a new spring training complex that would be presented to the Cubs at a meeting in November.

"For another community to interfere is very troubling to me," Smith said. "When it comes to Arizona, I think the real risk is that we beat each other up."

Smith said he doesn't want competition between Arizona communities to create opportunities for the Cubs to move to Naples, FL., or elsewhere in the Sunshine State.

He said wealthy investors in Florida have offered to help make a Cubs move to Naples happen.

"Whenever you have that kind of firepower, it's a threat," Smith said.

The Gila River community also made attempts to land The Arizona Diamondbacks, who eventually chose a site near Scottsdale on the Salt River-Pima Indian Community.

But Maisonet said the Diamondbacks proposal never made it to the Gila River Tribal Council for approval and any offer to the Cubs also hasn't come before the council.

The Diamondbacks training facility "at that time was not a good fit for us," she said.

The Cubs drew more than 203,000 fans to home games at Hohokam Stadium this spring. Their average home attendance is 10,690, compared to 5,819 for other Cactus League teams, according to a study commisioned by Mesa this summer.

The study concluded the Cubs are worth at least $31.1 million in direct spending by fans at games and have an overall economic impact of $52.2 million on the state's economy.
I rarely agree w/ Mesa leadership but Im totally with them on this. Valley cities/tribes shouldnt be competing with each other for Cactus League teams, they should be working together and against the Grapefruit league.

Im all for the Gila River reservation adding a stadium, it would be great right next to the new casino tower theyre building off the I-10. But why not try to pick of the St Louis Cardinals from the Grapefruit league? The Cardinals have a huge and loyal fanbase, and having them in the same spring training league with their hated rivals the Cubs would be great for revenues and attendance. The Twins and Astros are the other two teams west of the Mississippi also going to Florida, they should become targets for the Cactus league to pick off, not moving around the teams we currently have and perhaps leaving HoHoKam Park empty.
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  #5  
Old Posted Oct 12, 2009, 1:58 PM
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I agree Hoover, but I understand why the Cubs would flee Mesa. Look what has happened to that city? Besides, fans could stay at Wild Horse Pass and walk to the games....I like it.
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  #6  
Old Posted Oct 12, 2009, 4:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Leo the Dog View Post
I agree Hoover, but I understand why the Cubs would flee Mesa. Look what has happened to that city? Besides, fans could stay at Wild Horse Pass and walk to the games....I like it.
Mesa stinks but the area around HoHoKam park is fine, and just a short shuttle ride away from Downtown Mesa which during the day is a nice little downtown and good place to hang out and grab a bite. Personally Id rather hang out there than in the casino anyday.

EDIT: In more East Valley news it looks like Chandlers trying to fix their downtown up now too. Its good to hear places like Mesa, Chandler, Goodyear, etc all start making plans for creating walkable urban downtown cores while the economy is down. Hopefully they can get their code in place by the next upswing in the market and see some changes:
http://www.azcentral.com/community/c...azave1010.html

Quote:
Chandler leaders have plans to spruce up Arizona Avenue
4 comments by Edythe Jensen - Oct. 12, 2009 07:55 AM
The Arizona Republic
As construction of the six-story Chandler City Hall changes the downtown skyline, city leaders are taking another step toward shaping the area around it: new design guidelines for buildings and streetscapes along Arizona Avenue.

If the guidelines take effect, future downtown visitors will likely walk among buildings that are four stories or taller, dine in outdoor cafes and visit friends in high-rise condominiums. The picture is in stark contrast to the one-story businesses, vacant lots and older homes that dot most of the street today.

A lengthy draft proposal goes before the Planning and Zoning Commission at a special meeting Tuesday night and could get a City Council vote before the end of the year.

Behind the push is a desire to transform downtown into an urban mixed-use environment that encourages pedestrian activity with clusters of tall buildings, interesting architecture, shaded walkways and a place that lures new businesses and residents, planner David DeLaTorre said. The guidelines also heavily promote "green" buildings and sustainable design that favors solar energy and shade.

He stressed that they are separate from Arizona Avenue improvements that have already been approved by the City Council. Those will include narrowing a portion of the road from six lanes to four, widening sidewalks and adding signs, landscaping and crosswalks. Work is expected to start early next year.

The new design guidelines would require developers to follow a long list of rules governing the appearance of future buildings, shade, walkways and setbacks. But they will be able to get more use out of smaller parcels because the plan encourages multiple-story structures with commercial operations on ground floors and apartments or condos above, DeLaTorre said.

Recent news that Arizona State University is considering a branch campus downtown "is very exciting" and could jump-start development in the area, he said. The proposed design guidelines fit a campus' needs with plenty of housing for students and places within walking distance for dining and shopping, he said.

The city is set to help with redevelopment by upgrading water and sewer lines and making street improvements. The biggest stumbling block will be one facing developers: They must buy clusters of small parcels from private owners and assembling them for larger projects, DeLaTorre said. The area currently contains an eclectic mix of older residences and businesses.

At the special meeting, commissioners will see examples of recommended building styles, including photos of Roosevelt Square in downtown Phoenix at 121 W. Portland St. DeLaTorre said the square exemplifies what would be good for downtown Chandler: interesting architecture, a pedestrian-friendly frontage close to the street and apartments over shops and restaurants.

The Downtown Chandler Community Partnership, a non-profit that advances downtown development, has not yet weighed in on the proposal. Partnership board member and former City Councilwoman Patti Bruno said she had not yet seen the plan but plans to attend the 6 p.m. meeting Tuesday. The group is supporting the city's efforts to improve Arizona Avenue through downtown.
I dont think I had heard about a ASU branch campus in downtown Chandler until this article. I assume its part of the "Colleges @" plan.

Last edited by HooverDam; Oct 12, 2009 at 5:01 PM.
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  #7  
Old Posted Oct 12, 2009, 4:05 PM
Vicelord John Vicelord John is offline
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I hate HoHoKam... not the stadium as I've never been.
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  #8  
Old Posted Oct 12, 2009, 7:38 PM
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I didn't even know Chandler had a tower crane downtown building that city hall. Unusual to see the downtown of the place I grew up in advance so far.
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  #9  
Old Posted Dec 11, 2009, 6:19 AM
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I went to the temple to see the lights today. It's a pretty place!



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  #10  
Old Posted Dec 11, 2009, 2:31 PM
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I know this isn't really the place to discuss it since it is a NoPho issue but what does everyone think of the new temple in NoPho and the debate surrounding it? I am of the opinion that a)the city can't really do much about restricting the height because of Federal law and b)the neighbors should have started their bitching 10 years ago when the church started buying up property in the area and having it rezoned. This is some definite NIMBY bullshit trying to get this issue on a ballot and waste taxpayer dollars.
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  #11  
Old Posted Dec 11, 2009, 4:49 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by glynnjamin View Post
I know this isn't really the place to discuss it since it is a NoPho issue but what does everyone think of the new temple in NoPho and the debate surrounding it? I am of the opinion that a)the city can't really do much about restricting the height because of Federal law and b)the neighbors should have started their bitching 10 years ago when the church started buying up property in the area and having it rezoned. This is some definite NIMBY bullshit trying to get this issue on a ballot and waste taxpayer dollars.
I agree on everything you said.

However, I think it is a bit silly that the church feels the need to build a huge spire and light it. They have every right to build the spire that tall (spire's don't count against the height of a church building) but it's just silly excess. I think they should work with the neighbors and keep the spire unlit after maybe 9pm... if they feel they need a spire at all. the rezoning and extra usable height of the building itself is also a bit of bullshit, but it's nothing that hasn't happened before. That property and the immediate area is residential. Always has, always should be. The rezoning to Planned Urban Development (I think that's what they are rezoning to - can't think right now off the top of my head) just sounds like B.S. There's nothing "urban" about the place.

Some of the neighbors are being typical dumbass NIMBYs. Especially when it comes to the traffic problem out there. Someone said that basically there's going to be a traffic jam from the temple all the way down Pinnacle Peak, over the mountain, up 59th Avenue to the Loop 101. It's pretty silly what they come up with in their minds and then fight about. They don't realize how the temple operates, which is in small groups spread throughout the day. It will be a bit of traffic constant throughout the day, not a crush of thousands of cars at once like an arena or stadium. Also, this temple isn't going to have any seasonal events like the Mesa temple (for x-mas or easter or anything).

I'm probably the authority on this subject as I grew up two blocks from the temple, my parents still live there, and I know nearly everyone in the neighborhood, including some of the NIMBYs. AND, let's just say I'm very familiar with the person (*points to self*) that performed the traffic impact study for the City, as hired by the Church representatives. I'm on the inside on both sides of the argument.

One big problem I see that isn't the church nor the neighborhood's fault is that the intersection of 51st Avenue & Pinnacle Peak Road (temple and meeting house is on that corner) needs a traffic signal in it's existing condition. With the extra traffic due to the temple, a signal is warranted there even more. The church would likely be willing to install this signal before opening the temple, however it is basically the City's policy to get a percentage of money from the developer for the traffic signal, then the City will build the signal themselves when they deem it warranted and they have the money for it. I think, as is typical elsewhere, they shouldn't be allowed to open the temple without making the necessary improvements to the roadway to mitigate the forecasted traffic problems (ie, the church should isntall the signal before opening the temple). The City could have and should have forced them to install the signal, probably at closer to 100% cost to the church, instead, the City basically deferred that installation and only is taking 25% of the cost to build the signal (even though 51st/Pinnacle Peak is a 3-way intersection and the other corner is large lot residential). Plus, the City doesn't know when they'll have all the money for it, the temple could be open for a couple years before a traffic signal is installed, and that's not really fair to the neighbors (plus they're going to be really pissed).
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Old Posted Jan 3, 2010, 10:07 AM
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Mayor: 2010 brings concerns over ASU Poly
1 comment Jan. 1, 2010 07:00 AM
The Arizona Republic
Five Questions with Scott Smith

Mesa Mayor Scott Smith faces a new year filled with challenges. Many of those are a result of result of shrinking tax revenue, and the city during 2009 had to make significant cuts in expenditures.

Smith says there is another challenge he's concerned with-also tied to money-that has "extraordinarily important implications" for the future not just of Mesa, but, he said, of "all the cities in the southeast Valley." That concern has to do with the future of the Arizona State University Polytechnic campus at Williams Field and Power roads in southeast Mesa. Last year, when ASU was in the throes of budget cuts, school President Michael Crow raised the specter of perhaps having to close Polytechnic if budget pressures became too great. In the event, some programs were cut at Polytechnic and some were moved to other campuses.

Question: We understand you are concerned about ASU Polytechnic's future and wonder if you would explain why that campus is so important to Mesa?

Smith: It is important to consider what Polytechnic has meant and what it can mean. What it has meant is that has become the economic center of a planned vast urbanopolis stretching clear down to Pinal County. With Phoenix-Mesa Gateway Airport and a vibrant university you have a dynamic economic force at the center of the plan.

Q: The airport and the university form the core of this future urbanopolis then?

Smith: Absolutely and without one or the other you just have an airport or a college, but the two combined have the potential to be a very dynamic economic force of high quality jobs. Airports are economic drivers. Look at the impact of Phoenix's Sky Harbor-- it's in the billions. And with Polytechnic having specific educational goals as a growing center of applied science the combination is a great recipe for success.

Q: And your fears about Polytechnic are . . . .?

Smith: Our concern is that with the financial pressures, with budget issues, that if polytechnic (continues to) lose programs it could lose its focus on becoming an independent training center, an independent educational center. If it becomes just a cluster of buildings where classes are held we believe it falls short of fulfilling its potential.

Q: And others share your concerns?

Smith: The mayors in the southeast Valley share this concern as well as the East Valley Partnership and business leaders. We meet with ASU officials regularly and I'm sure I'll meet with Doctor Crow in January. We need a detailed explanation from ASU as to exactly how these changes in programs will affect Polytechnic and better understand how changes in the future can allow polytechnic to reach its full potential.

Q: But Mesa in particular seems to have a very proprietary feeling about Polytechnic.

Smith: We have invested tens of millions of dollars to create the infrastructure to make Polytechnic possible. We built sewers and roads to transform an Air Force base into a vibrant educational center, and sometimes that's forgotten. Not only do we have an interest in Polytechnic's future, but we have a large investment there. The City of Mesa did not invest tens of millions of dollars in Gateway to see Polytechnic fall short.
Good God, just let it be its own school already. Then ASU can raise its quality and costs and be in less financial straights. If it was its own school it could have a President who cared solely about it and was dedicated to raising funds for the school.
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  #13  
Old Posted Jan 4, 2010, 3:39 PM
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Just want to say, I drove out around the Gateway Airport over the holiday and I was totally surprised at how nice they have made that place. It really looks like Orange Cnty Airport to me. They did a good job with it. I had been to the ASU Poly campus a few times but never made it down to the airport area. Really cool.

Then, like 2 nights later, I was watching Worlds Strictest Parents and the kids were flown in from LA into the Gateway Airport to stay with some family in Gilbert. Pretty cool if you ask me.
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Old Posted Jan 4, 2010, 9:16 PM
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The mayor seems to have forgotten or overlooked Chandler-Gilbert CC's presence at Williams. We have our waiting-list nursing and aircraft maintenance programs out there, telephone linemen and police programs. Nursing has a brand-new, two-story, state-of-the-art facility. We're there to stay. Plus, if ASU departs, we'll get all our two-year general course students back that Crow agreed ASU would never interfere with.

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Old Posted Jan 6, 2010, 12:01 PM
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Quote:
Mesa mayor hopes to attract more colleges to city
5 comments by Gary Nelson - Jan. 6, 2010 12:00 AM
The Arizona Republic
The people who flowed to Arizona by the millions from frontier days through the postwar rush to urbanize neglected to bring one critical thing with them:

The visionary mind-set that seeded America's older cities and small towns with tree-lined, ivy-draped college and university campuses.

Arizona has only a fraction of the number of four-year colleges found in other states its size, and among America's big cities, Mesa stands out as one of the most barren when it comes to higher education.

That doesn't sit well with Mayor Scott Smith, who is working to lure a major medical school or other college to the nation's 38th-largest city.

"We could put five colleges in here and we wouldn't even begin to match what cities our size in other areas of the country have," Smith said.

He cited Pittsburgh, which boasts a population of slightly more than 300,000 - 160,000 fewer than Mesa - but which is home to prestigious schools such as Carnegie Mellon University, Duquesne University and the University of Pittsburgh, as well as several smaller schools.

Mesa, with about 460,000 people, has one four-year campus, Arizona State University Polytechnic, which was created 15 years ago to relieve overcrowding at the Tempe campus.

Mesa's educational void is hardly unique in Arizona. Communities large and small around the state draw a blank on the four-year college scorecard.

Even Phoenix has only two four-year liberal-arts colleges: an ASU campus and Grand Canyon University. The situation has both deep historical roots and profound implications for Arizona and its future, with statistics showing Arizona students lag behind their peers across the nation in the pursuit of further education.

Wrong end of history

Arizona's lack of higher-education options is largely a matter of timing, according to Luther Spoehr, senior lecturer on education and history at Brown University in Providence, R.I., a city of about 170,000 people that boasts at least six four-year campuses.

"Providence and Rhode Island are part of a larger pattern that is really typical of New England and the Northeast," he said.

America's first wave of college and university development, which began in the 1600s and 1700s, was largely a product of religious denominations that wanted a highly educated clergy. By the 19th century, a big dose of civic boosterism entered the mix.

"There was a strong sense that if you were going to be a real town, you were going to have certain things, and one of those things would be a college," Spoehr said.

Arizona at the time was a blank slate, part of the land that the United States had acquired after the war with Mexico in 1848. "It's not even on the radar screen," Spoehr said.

A second wave of college growth occurred in the late 19th and early 20th centuries, much more secular in nature and fueled by an 1862 federal law that gave states land to establish colleges focusing on practical education.

"The first two waves have pretty much ended by the time Arizona gets started (as a state in 1912)," Spoehr said.

Arizona's "frontier mentality" played a part, too, he said. People who mined and ranched for a living didn't see much need for books.

Marshall Trimble, Arizona's official historian, thinks several other factors contributed to Arizona's college gap.

"When the University of Arizona opened its doors in 1891, there was not a single high school in the whole territory," Trimble said. "I don't think education was a big priority like it was in more settled places."

In modern times, he said, Arizona has had a hard time keeping up with the needs created by its postwar population surge, and he blamed legislatures of the past 40 to 50 years for not getting in front of the issue.

"It just seems like education is not the priority it should be in the Legislature," he said.

Trimble said university politics also may have played a part in limiting the number of campuses in Arizona.

"I'm just wondering if the UofA and ASU have just sort of discouraged this because of the competition," he added.

In the 1950s, Trimble said, UA was so opposed to ASU assuming university status that it took a statewide vote in 1958 to try to prevent that from happening.

"It was resisted fiercely by Pima County," Trimble said. "They just didn't think Arizona should have another university."

Trimble, who teaches Southwest studies at Scottsdale Community College, said even he, at age 70, is affected.

"I sure would like to finish out my career at some small liberal arts college," he said. "You can't do that in Arizona."

Arizona threatened

Regardless of the root causes, Mesa's mayor believes the college gap has real consequences for Arizona's ability to produce the well-educated workforce it needs to attract good jobs and compete on the global stage.

"One of the things that is keeping this state back is we have a disproportionate amount of our high-school graduates who are not moving on to higher education," Smith said.

The most recent federal statistics show Arizona is last among states, with only 45 percent of high-school graduates in 2006 going on to college.

With only 39 percent of Arizona graduates attending college in their home state, Arizona ranks near the bottom in that category, too. And when people go to college out of state, they are 30 percent less likely than in-state college students to work in their home states as adults, according to research by Illinois State University.

"This results in a brain drain of high-skilled citizens," the study said.

Smith said Arizona's gargantuan state universities - ASU with 68,000 students and UA with 36,000 - intimidate many young people. But Arizona's high-school grads don't have many other options.

The Republic counted eight residential four-year campuses in the entire state, including the four operated by ASU and excluding religious seminaries.

Iowa, whose 3 million people are just half of Arizona's population, has at least 29.

Looking to diversify

It's not that Mesa is completely lacking when it comes to post-secondary schooling.

ASU Poly has about 10,000 students. Mesa Community College educates more than 20,000 students on several campuses. A.T. Still University is growing in size and prestige as a medical and dental school in the city's southeastern corner. And Northern Arizona University offers several degree programs at a small downtown campus.

But Smith wants more.

"There are students out there that may need something different," he said. "And maybe having these smaller, different approaches, which we know exist all over the country - we need more of those."

Mesa hopes to use city-owned land to lure high-end educational institutions to the downtown area. The council has approved two feasibility studies to determine whether there is a market for higher education downtown.

One $25,000 study will examine a 30-acre site near an abandoned World War II-era public-housing project at Mesa and University drives that the city wants to redevelop.

Bill Jabjiniak, Mesa's economic-development director, said at least one medical school, which he wouldn't identify, has shown interest in the site.

The other study, for $45,000, will look at the broader issue of locating a campus in the square-mile downtown.

BYU-Idaho foothold

City Manager Chris Brady said he talked with officials at Brigham Young University-Idaho in Rexburg about expanding to Mesa. That effort is off to a small-scale beginning.

The university, operated by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, has established a pilot program in an existing church-owned Institute of Religion building in east Mesa.

Andy Cargal, BYU-Idaho spokesman, said seven students enrolled in the first semester.

"The premise behind it is to provide students who maybe otherwise wouldn't go to college or would have a difficult time going to college because of financial circumstances . . . to still get some skills or work toward getting a full degree if they want one," Cargal said.

The program is still experimental, and BYU-Idaho has no plans to build a campus in Mesa, Cargal said.

Although that's not the kind of iconic campus Smith has talked about, he's willing to accept all comers.

Brady agreed with Smith that Arizona's future is cloudy without further efforts to develop its higher education and build a more diversified economy that doesn't depend on the vicissitudes of growth. "If there was ever a time to retool our labor force with education, this is it," Brady said. "The future of Arizona's economy can't be based on construction. It's nice to have, but that's not our core element. ... We've got to build that sustainable labor pool out there."
sidebar:
Quote:
Arizona education snapshot

Population 25 and older with college degrees
National: 27.7%
Arizona: 25.1%
Rank: 32nd place
High-school graduates attending college
National: 62%
Arizona: 45%
Rank: Last place
High-school graduates attending college in home state
National: 50.1%
Arizona: 39.1%
Rank: 41st place
Sources: U.S. Census Bureau; U.S. Department of Education statistics from 2006, the latest available
A broad push for expanding higher education in Arizona

While Mesa leaders have been vocal about their desire for more college campuses, other Arizonans also are looking at ways to expand the state's higher-education portfolio.
State Rep. John Kavanagh, R-Fountain Hills, advocates building eight state colleges around Arizona instead of continually expanding its existing universities.
The colleges would focus on teaching while universities would continue their growing emphasis on research, Kavanagh said.
"For the person who just wants to open a business, a state college degree would be just fine," he said. "California has that system, and it's very successful."

In the West Valley, Goodyear has created a task force to look at how to establish an Arizona State University campus.

ASU has said it wants to start a campus there by 2011, with Goodyear footing the bill.
Temporary facilities could cost $3 million to $5 million, with permanent facilities running $35 million to $50 million.

Goodyear Mayor Jim Cavanaugh has said he is looking into whether private money can help with the ASU effort.
Also in Goodyear, Franklin Pierce University, a New Hampshire-based liberal-arts school, is teaching classes and has a 99-year lease on land near Estrella Parkway and Yuma Road, where the city wants to concentrate its campuses.
- Gary Nelson and Eli Arnold
Fucking finally, now someones doing some thinkin!
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  #16  
Old Posted Jan 6, 2010, 3:12 PM
glynnjamin glynnjamin is offline
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Wait, we need a college degree to open a business in AZ? I better let most of the business owners I know that they are going against the law.

While I dont normally agree with Cavanaugh, I like the premise of the idea ... I just don't like building more state schools. I'd rather see private universities coming in and competing. This state needs more liberal arts education.
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  #17  
Old Posted Jan 6, 2010, 3:31 PM
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Leo the Dog Leo the Dog is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by glynnjamin View Post
Wait, we need a college degree to open a business in AZ? I better let most of the business owners I know that they are going against the law.

While I dont normally agree with Cavanaugh, I like the premise of the idea ... I just don't like building more state schools. I'd rather see private universities coming in and competing. This state needs more liberal arts education.
I definitely agree that we need private institutions here in PHX. We need some wealthy old money residents to take the initiative. It seems that currently they do the easy thing and donate to ASU or UofA towards the creation of a school/name on a building.

I don't know if we have the population with the means ($) and/or loyalty here. Almost every I know, (including myself) have loyalties to other parts of the country. Just drive around town and read bumper stickers, t-shirts, sports jerseys etc...
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  #18  
Old Posted Jan 6, 2010, 4:29 PM
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HooverDam HooverDam is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by glynnjamin View Post
Wait, we need a college degree to open a business in AZ? I better let most of the business owners I know that they are going against the law.

While I dont normally agree with Cavanaugh, I like the premise of the idea ... I just don't like building more state schools. I'd rather see private universities coming in and competing. This state needs more liberal arts education.
Beggars can't be choosers an right now we're definitely beggars. If you read the 1st article it talks about Mesa trying to lure BYU or other private schools and the side panel talks about Goodyear and Franklin Pierce, so its not 100% a public schools thing. You can certainly have small liberal arts schools that are public as well.
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  #19  
Old Posted Jan 6, 2010, 5:38 PM
Vicelord John Vicelord John is offline
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I went on a road trip to Globe yesterday and on the way back we drove through Gateway Airport and Agritopia, etc.

Does anyone know what the housing is used for on the old Williams Air Force Base? There is some pretty low dollar looking housing, which I assumed was student housing for ASU East, but there was an overwhelming number of children and apparently families.

any ideas?
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  #20  
Old Posted Jan 6, 2010, 6:03 PM
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HooverDam HooverDam is offline
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Originally Posted by Vicelord John View Post
I went on a road trip to Globe yesterday and on the way back we drove through Gateway Airport and Agritopia, etc.

Does anyone know what the housing is used for on the old Williams Air Force Base? There is some pretty low dollar looking housing, which I assumed was student housing for ASU East, but there was an overwhelming number of children and apparently families.

any ideas?
When we shot "The Kingdom" out there we used a ton of those houses for the various departments. The prop dept (which I was in) filled an entire house with machine guns and other crap. Each dept. had its own house practically and we shot in a few of the houses.

The other houses were either empty, student housing or just super cheap rentals.
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