October 15 is Blog Action Day, and this year’s topic, climate change, got me thinking of how Downtown Phoenix is trying to make a difference. I started making a mental list of all of the innovations in recent years, and kept coming back to one place: ASU’s Downtown campus.
It’s no secret that ASU president Michael Crow has green on the brain, and he has made it the university’s mission to pursue any and all green innovations full throttle. What initiative could be more important smack in the middle of the Sonoran Desert than water conservation? Luckily, ASU is already helping us conserve every day. Just take a look at the collection of new buildings that focus on conservation, preservation and reuse.
Arizona Biomedical Collaborative
A lot of water flows through a building that is more than 85,000 square feet. So, when ASU and U of A drew up plans for this massive biomedical facility, keeping water use to a minimum was high on the list of needed features. Up for LEED designation, the Biomedical Collaborative reduces potable water by 40% with low-flow and dry fixtures. Outside, in the dry desert air, the conservation is even more important. The Biomedical Collaborative utilizes high-efficiency irrigation, along with the use of native and adaptive plants to reduce potable water usage for landscaping by 63%.
Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication/KAET 8 Building
The Cronkite School building has quickly changed the Downtown Phoenix skyline, and it’s trying to change the way we conserve water as well. The building, set to be designated LEED Silver, is designed with the same low-flow and dry fixtures as the Biomedical Collaborative, but it also has a rooftop rainwater retrieval system that stores the rain that falls on the Valley, allowing for reuse within the building at a later time. We don’t get much rain here, so we might as well keep it!
The Downtown Phoenix campus’ dormitories, Taylor Place, may look like a typical high-rise residential unit, but the desert climate was a big factor in the towers’ design. Drought-tolerant plants, watered by a condensate byproduct of the air conditioning system, were planted throughout the grounds. Dual-flush toilets and low-flow fixtures were installed in every restroom. Even the major appliances in Taylor Place are Energy Star approved, conserving both water usage and electricity.
This is just the beginning. The newly finished Nursing and Healthcare Innovation building will soon be up for LEED designation. Civic Space Park, adjacent to ASU, will reach 70% shade coverage upon vegetation maturity. And, you can bet any and all future improvements and new builds by the university will have this same conservation approach in mind.
The future is being invented in Downtown Phoenix. While much recent attention has been focused on CityScape and the Downtown ASU campus, a few blocks away, some of the brightest high school students in the state are pushing the boundaries of science and math. Working alongside Phoenix’s advanced education and bioscience communities, these students are helping to solve the problems of tomorrow.
Here, rising from the empty lots south of Roosevelt Row, is Bioscience High School. While officially a part of the Phoenix Biomedical Campus, Bioscience is quickly forging a unique identity of its own and becoming an integrated part of the Downtown community.
In the fall of 2006, Bioscience High School opened its doors at the Phoenix Prep Academy to 43 freshman, seven teachers, two staff and a principal. A year later, the school’s new building opened at the corner of 6th Street and Pierce. By 2008-09, enrollment grew to 180 students. This fall there are 253 students, including its first senior class that comprises all of the original 43 students. Next year, the school expects to achieve its full capacity of 400 students.
According to Bioscience principal Dr. Deedee Falls, the aim of Bioscience High School is to work with students to “invent the future” by preparing students for jobs “that don’t yet exist” and to solve problems that “we don’t yet know about.” Judging by their early academic success, this approach is working well. In 2008, 97% of its 10th graders meet or exceed the AIMS math exam, which is the highest public (non-charter) school percentage in the Valley, and second best in the state. Its science scores were third best in the state among non-charter schools. Moreover, in its first two years of eligibility, the school earned two consecutive AZ Learns ‘Excelling’ Achievement Profiles from the state, the highest a school can attain.
Even more impressive: Bioscience has achieved such outcomes with a high percentage of traditionally under-represented students. The school is part of the Phoenix Union High School District, but enrollment is open to all students in the Phoenix area; the main requirement is a passion for science. “Science is for everybody,” states Dr. Falls. “We give more weight to motivation than grades.” The composition of the student population illustrates this philosophy. Bioscience has one of the most diverse student bodies in Arizona, with 57% Hispanic, 11% African American, 6% Native American, 4% Asian and 21% Caucasian students. But, while they come from diverse backgrounds, their love of science has brought them together and forged a strong community dedicated to creating knowledge.
The school’s Downtown location plays a role in its success. As part of the Phoenix Bioscience campus, the school is in immediate proximity of some of the most advanced scientific research organizations in the Valley, including TGen, Arizona Science Center, ASU Downtown and Phoenix College. Bioscience students benefit from this concentration of local scientific and academic resources through site visits, guest lectures and student internships.
Bioscience’s connection to the Downtown community is not just limited to scientific collaboration. The school has also woven itself into the social fabric of Downtown as well. A great example of this has been the school’s involvement in First Fridays. Not only does the school rent out spaces in its parking structure to those participating in the monthly artwalk, but the students also set up a table to sell their own arts and crafts. Proceeds from these activities help fund school projects.
Additionally, the school is paying respect to the history of its Downtown location. It has recently received a $2.4-million grant from the city of Phoenix to renovate the historic McKinley schoolhouse for a biomedical program. This site has been connected to education since 1902, when a school was built (the current building was completed in 1919). When complete in the fall of 2010, the renovated schoolhouse building will include administrative offices, classrooms, a library/community room and student demonstration area. The renovated facility will act as a historic foil to the modern architecture of the rest of the Bioscience campus. The renovations will maintain the schoolhouse’s green space along Pierce Street, acting as a pocket oasis for students and local residents alike.
To find out more, contact Bioscience High School at 602-764-5600 or go to www.biosciencehs.org. The school is located at 512 E. Pierce Street.
All photos by Paul Valach
Remember those awful cafeteria lunches from your elementary days? The very thought of it sends a chill down the spine, so you can only imagine the poor children who are still suffering with it. If you want healthy, delicious food to grace our public schools’ cafeterias, now you can take a stand. This Labor Day (Monday, September 7) Slow Food Phoenix will be staging an eat-in at the Arizona State Fairgrounds in response to the Child Nutrition Act, and the public is welcome to come and show its support.
The bill is up for reauthorization by Congress this fall, and these kiddos need your help. All you need to do is show up, bring a picnic lunch and show your support. Participants are also encouraged to bring a dessert for a sweet and tasty potluck following lunchtime.
Beyond a simple picnic, participants will get to see a school garden demonstration, take a kids cooking class with a famous local chef, get more information on food in schools and most importantly, send a message to our legislators that we want REAL FOOD in SCHOOLS!
The eat-in will take place in the Home Arts Building at the Arizona State Fairgrounds, 1826 W. McDowell Rd., from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. For more information, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Downtown denizens are mixing business with pleasure at a weekend event that will introduce ASU students to the benefits of an urban lifestyle.
The City of Phoenix, the Downtown Phoenix Partnership, Artlink, Inc. and ASU’s Downtown Phoenix campus are partnering on a special trolley tour to encourage and engage student leaders to take advantage of the variety of amenities offered in the city’s core.
The tour, which showcases entertainment venues, restaurants, boutiques, and cultural attractions in the heart of Downtown Phoenix, starts at 5 p.m. Saturday, August 15 at Taylor Place residence hall, 120 E. Taylor Place. Three trolley cars will pick up approximately 60 community assistants, student engagement supervisors and workers and residential college peer leaders for a fun-filled evening of art, commerce and culture.
Phoenix Mayor Phil Gordon said the tour will be comparable to a treasure hunt.
Please join me in welcoming our ASU students to downtown Phoenix for our 2009 tour. Our new students will experience an emerging downtown in the heart of this city on the rise,” Gordon said. “We have so many hidden treasures that won’t stay hidden for much longer. I thank ASU, Artlink, Inc. and the Downtown Phoenix Partnership for shining a light on Downtown Phoenix.”
Student leaders selected for the tour have extensive exposure to the ASU’s Downtown Phoenix campus student community and were invited because of their ability to promote the area. Tour stops include the Arizona Science Center Dorrance Planetarium, Arizona Center, Roosevelt Row and several restaurants and boutiques.
“The idea is to introduce student leaders what Phoenix has to offer,” said Terry Madeksza, director of operations for the Downtown Phoenix Partnership. “We want to expose them to all of our entertainment, retail, dining and cultural opportunities, which are all within walking distance of where they’ll live.”
The tour will also expose students to ASU’s Sun Card “Use it Here” program, a new business incentive program. Members can simply show their Sun Card at participating businesses and venues for discounts on products and services. Participating vendors will display placards that say, “Use it Here” with ASU’s mascot, “Sparky,” holding a Sun Card. Faculty and staff will be encouraged to load dollars onto their cards and use them at participating vendors in the downtown area.
Artlink President Sloane Burwell said her organization couldn’t be happier to participate in what will hopefully be a time-honored tradition.
“It’s a natural, organic partnership. For the last 20 years Artlink has been a vital part of bringing people downtown and we’ve contributed to the development of our city,” Burwell said. “Working with ASU in this way is like introducing the next generation of leaders to our neighborhoods.”
The Downtown Phoenix campus is embedded in the heart of the city. The colleges and schools on the campus directly interact with more than 500 agencies to provide internships, research, partnerships, programs and clinical practices. Funded by a voter-approved $223 million bond, the campus will comprise nine buildings that cover approximately 20 acres, accommodate 15,000 students, employ 1,800 faculty and staff and generate about $948 million in construction costs and occupy more than 1.5 million square feet by its projected build-out in 2020. The campus will have an annual operational economic impact of $570 million not only producing the intellectual assets for the city, state, nation and the world, but also proving to be an economic force as well.
Arizona State University and the University of Arizona invite you to a monthly breakfast series called Get Smart.
Learn about stress and the health risks associated with it, and more importantly, learn what you can do about it. Get Smart will help you understand stress management and how you can increase your resilience to stress.
The first event will be on Wednesday, August 19 from 7:30-8:30 a.m. at Tom’s Restaurant and Tavern, 2 N. Central Ave.