This fall, ASU will open an ambitious education and community outreach program in the ground floor of the historic Westward Ho in downtown Phoenix. The ASU Center for Applied Behavioral Health Policy in the College of Public Service and Community Solutions is leasing 15,000 square feet for 15 years and has some exciting plans for integrating their work into the Westward Ho community and strengthening their ties with downtown.
Dr. Michael S. Shafer, a professor of Social Work and the director of the Center, says they will relocate the faculty, student and staff offices to the Westward Ho and convert the historic Concho Room into the Community Education and Health Center.
“At the Center for Applied Behavioral Health Policy,” says Prof. Shafer, “we do a lot of continuing education work for all sorts of health and human services professionals – from judges and probation officers to drug counselors and mental health counselors.” He points out that over the nine years that the Center has been affiliated with ASU they’ve had a really hard time hosting these kinds of training events on the Tempe campus. “One of our design imperatives at ASU is ‘the power of the place’ and bringing the community into our space (at the Westward Ho) is part of that transformative experience.”
“The Concho Room will become our dedicated space for hosting community engagement meetings, continuing education trainings and smaller scale conferences and convenings,” says Shafer. “And most exciting,” he adds, “we are creating what we’re calling a supportive services clinic: a student-staffed, faculty-supervised clinic that will initially be restricted only to provide services to the 300 tenants that call the Westward Ho their home.”
The clinic will bring together four disparate academic units, including social work, nursing, recreational therapy, and nutrition and health promotion. They currently have faculty from each of these departments working together on the design for the clinic, which they plan to launch in August. “All four of those disciplines have requirements among their undergrad and grad students for practica and internships, etc. and it’s a very natural leap for ASU to meet the needs of that community,” says Shafer.
A doctoral student under Shafer’s supervision surveyed fifty of the tenants at the Westward Ho to assess their needs. “What we discovered was that, surprisingly, they have pretty good access to healthcare. 80-90% of the tenants surveyed reported that they’d had a scheduled physical exam in the last year, which is a very good marker of healthcare access.” They did find that tenants have a lot of chronic health issues that need attention, but, “more importantly, we discovered these folks were largely, isolated, self-isolated, cut off from community and forgotten.”
Rhode Island-based PAG-CDG has developed and operated the property as a HUD facility since 1979, and according to Shafer, they have done a terrific job in maintaining the building and providing a valuable service. But the HUD funding they receive is tenant-based vouchers, which means strictly vouchers to lease an apartment. They aren’t given any funding to provide supported services on site. Consequently, there is a lot of social disorganization and chaos.
“The most recent data we were able to get from the city police and fire departments indicated that in 2012 they’d had over 600 dispatches to the Westward Ho between them. 600! That’s more than two per day.” He adds, “I’ve worked for over 20 years in this public funded behavioral health space, and so we spend a lot of time around areas of homelessness, criminal justice systems, and mental health and substance abuse treatment. For years we’ve known that this (the Westward Ho) has been a kind of ‘no man’s zone.’ No one has tried to address the issues there.”
Shafer describes a three-fold agenda for the clinic.
“First and foremost we want to create a state-of-the-art, easily accessible training environment for our students. Second, we want to improve the quality of life for the tenants, and third, just like a teaching hospital, the tenants participating in the clinic have the potential, and I emphasize ‘potential,’ to become research subjects to secure federal funding to study how to improve the health and quality of life in the elderly living in place.”
Shafer sums it up this way – “the core of every university is the generation of knowledge that helps to transform community.”
He underscores that “the tenants will be front and center in helping direct the research. The questions and how we address those questions will be directed by the residents and the downtown community.” He ASU team is currently putting together an advisory panel of community leaders to help them effectively engage with downtown.
So what’s the current progress on the renovation of the space and the planned move? “We’re about 60% through on the demolition, so there’s still a lot to do before we go into soft opening and relocation in time for the fall semester.” They will probably wait until October to do any kind of big grand opening, but students, faculty and staff will be in the space when the fall semester begins.
And what about the historic nature of the Concho Room? How much will they preserve? Shafer assures me that they’ve embraced the preservation element. “The Westward Ho is on the national registry and you still have the art deco feel of the room,” he says. “In fact, If you blink twice you can almost see the Rat Pack up on the stage and – that’s going to stay. The basic shell will remain, and for people who were entertained in there – the dance floor will remain.”
It’s worth noting that as a result of ASU’s lease, the owners were successful in securing a supportive housing tax credit, so they are undertaking some pretty major renovations on their own, including replumbing the entire towers. They’ve also extended another 20-year commitment to HUD.
While they are still working out the details of how the clinic will be managed, for the last four or five years undergraduate nursing students have been staffing a clinic in the Westward Ho for one or two days a week. This new, greatly expanded program will incorporate social work, nursing, nutrition and recreational therapy.
“We also look forward to helping the tenant advisory council have some functionality and robustness. With it being managed from Rhode Island, there is a real disconnect there,” says Shafer. “A lot of our work is going to be about asking ‘how do we create a sense of community among you and in support with you?’ Students in social work who are training to become clinicians will have a terrific opportunity to practice and learn their counseling skills.”
The average age of the tenants in the Westward Ho is 59-64. Tenants must meet the HUD criteria, which means they must be homeless or at risk of being homeless, and they must meet a low-income threshold. Shafer adds, “Up to 50% of the tenants have some form of diagnosable mental health condition, chronic disease, diabetes, hypertension, or are mobility impaired.”
The program should bring a tremendous benefit to the tenants and the downtown community. Shafer has also been in conversation with Dean Tepper of the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts about the intersection between the arts and recreational therapy. “We’ve had some wonderful conversations about how we might also use the Concho Room as an event space for their students and faculty – perhaps for recitals, exhibitions, etc.”
The new Center will be great for ASU, for the Westward Ho tenants, and for downtown as a whole. It will be exciting to watch the program develop and discover new ways for the Westward Ho to better serve its tenants, be a useful training ground for students, provide potential research opportunities for faculty, and offer continuing education opportunities for social welfare professionals.
On Saturday, January 31, Downtown ASU is inviting everyone to their Night of the Open Door with events and open houses scheduled throughout the downtown Phoenix campus. From 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m downtown visitors have the opportunity to step across nearly two dozen welcome mats and experience what’s happening in science, medicine, law, public service and more.
With two dozen don’t miss opportunities, we’ve highlighted three that will showcase the way in which the ASU is integrating into our urban core.
Visit this artful addition to the downtown ASU campus. Located just south of the urban core in a converted warehouse (formerly known as Levine Machine). Check out the cool space and peek into the vibrant, creative studio spaces of ASU graduate students. The Warehouse District is in the midst of a renaissance and this space is one of the jewels in the district’s crown.
Students and staff will lead tours of the Cronkite School, a 225,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art media complex, which is home to Arizona PBS and the Cronkite’s competitive professional programs in broadcast, multimedia and sports journalism, entrepreneurship, new media and public relations.
Tours will begin in the Cronkite School’s first floor lobby at 4:15, 5:15, 6:15, and 7:15 p.m.
Design your own paper football and kick field goals! Join University Academic Success Programs on the first floor of the University Center in Suite 171. Using force and angles to make field goals from different distances and positions. Can you kick the game winner?
And for good measure…
Arizona Center for Law and Society Building Showcase
Saturday, January 31, 2015 – 4:00pm to 8:00pm
The Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law invites you to view renderings of the new Arizona Center for Law and Society set to open Summer 2016.
These activities are just a sampling of everything that will be happening on the ASU Downtown Night of the Open Door. Check here for all the details.
Downtown Civic Space Park is coming to life this weekend with two free events.
On Saturday, celebrate Arizona music with the Crescent Ballroom folks as they present two stages of entertainment featuring Arizona musicians from 1:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. in the park. Los Dias de la Crescent is a free, all ages event featuring an amazing lineup of 17 bands, along with food trucks and a full no host bar. (No blankets or lawn chairs allowed)
“I’m very excited for our two days,” said Charlie Levy of Crescent Ballroom. “Civic Space Park is one of my favorite places in Phoenix, and it’s just one block from Crescent. It’s time for Arizona music lovers to enjoy bands playing in the park.”
Featured bands include Black Carl, Orkesta Mendoza, SNAKE! SNAKE! SNAKES!, Dry River Yacht Club, Sincerely Collins & Miny,¡Caray!, Bogan Via, Playboy Manbaby, Gospel Claws, IAMWE, and more, more, more.
As the evening chill descends (around 9:00 p.m.) the festivities will move from the park to Crescent Ballroom and the music will continue until 2:00 a.m.
On Sunday night, Civic Space Park will play host to “Bike-In Movie at the Park,” another FREE event featuring food trucks, a full bar, and a screening of the Coen Brothers film Raising Arizona, along with “The Best of Dinerwood,” a collection of Phoenix short films presented by Welcome Diner. The event begins at 6:00 p.m. Bring blankets and lawn chairs to relax and enjoy the screenings. (Sunday event only, no blankets or lawn chairs on Saturday.) This event will also feature food trucks and a full bar.
What: Los Dias de la Crescent – all day music festival celebrating Arizona bands
When: Saturday, November 15, 1:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.
Where: Downtown Civic Space Park (at 9:00 p.m. the show moves to Crescent Ballroom)
Cost: FREE (no blankets or lawn chairs allowed)
What: Bike-In Movie at the Park, featuring Raising Arizona and “The Best of Dinerwood” – Phoenix short films presented by Welcome Diner.
When: Sunday, November 16, 6:00 p.m.
Where: Downtown Civic Space Park.
Cost: FREE (bring blankets and lawn chairs.)
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Arizona PBS Moves to Cronkite School, Becomes ‘Teaching Hospital’ and Innovation Hub
Arizona PBS, the 53-year-old public television station based at Arizona State University with more than 1 million viewers, will become part of the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, continuing to provide quality PBS programming while serving as a national hub for news innovation and reinvention, the university announced Thursday.
Eight, which includes three TV channels and azpbs.org, will be the largest media organization operated by a journalism school in the world when the move becomes official next Tuesday. The station had been part of ASU’s Office of Public Affairs.
“Eight has served Arizonans for more than 50 years, providing important national and regional content in public affairs, education, the arts, science and culture across our state,” said ASU President Michael M. Crow. “That critical mission will continue and we will redouble our efforts to make Arizona PBS the best public television enterprise in the nation featuring all of the outstanding PBS programming now available on Eight.”
Under Cronkite, Arizona PBS also will serve as a journalistic “teaching hospital,” tapping into the talents of advanced students in journalism and other disciplines who work under the guidance of top professionals from the ASU faculty and Eight staff to provide rich, new and innovative broadcast and digital content.
A leading journalism school joining forces with one of the nation’s largest PBS stations at a university known globally for its leadership in innovation is a powerful and potentially game-changing combination,” the ASU president said. “We will be able to serve Arizonans on new levels while providing a national testing ground for new approaches to digital storytelling, audience engagement and revenue models to help serve a news industry that needs to rapidly adapt in the fast-changing digital world.”
Since ASU made the school a free-standing college in 2005, Cronkite has been at the vanguard of a movement in journalism education to create highly immersive, professional programs in which students create journalism products under the guidance of top professionals recruited onto the faculty from some of the nation’s leading newsrooms. Harvard University documented Cronkite’s leadership role earlier this month in Nieman Reports.
Like a teaching hospital in medical education, these immersive professional programs provide intensive learning environments for students, important services to the community and the ability to experiment and innovate. In this case, the community service is providing critically needed, in-depth journalistic content to readers and viewers.
“We have called this a ‘teaching hospital’ approach to journalism education, but until now, we haven’t had the hospital,” said Cronkite Dean and University Vice Provost Christopher Callahan. “Now we do – a multiplatform media organization in one of the nation’s largest media markets.”
Cronkite leaders will spend the next few months designing the new enterprise, starting with combining the school’s immersive professional programs with Arizona PBS.
An expanded version of the school’s TV newscast, Cronkite NewsWatch, which covers public policy news around the state, will give Arizona PBS one of the nation’s only daily local PBS newscasts. A new study by the Radio Television DigitalNews Association found that only 16 of the nation’s 170 PBS stations have some kind of daily local public affairs programming. And most of those are not newscasts but public affairs interview shows, such as Eight’s award-winning “Arizona Horizon.”
Some of the other established Cronkite professional programs that will become part of Arizona PBS include multiplatform daily news bureaus in Phoenix, Washington and Los Angeles, which provide news coverage to professional media outlets across the region; an innovation lab that creates new digital media products for clients; the community engagement Public Insight Network Bureau that serves news organizations nationally; and the Carnegie-Knight News21 investigative multimedia initiative whose publishing partners include The Washington Post and NBCnews.com.
Cronkite plans to add new immersion programs in business reporting and sports within the next six months and will look to other disciplines across the university to create other professional programs within Arizona PBS.
“As a veteran newsman now on the Cronkite faculty who has been immersed in the reconstruction of American journalism, I could not be more excited,” said Leonard Downie Jr., the former executive editor of The Washington Post who helps lead the News21 program. “This is a very important development, not just for journalism education and the development of outstanding journalists for tomorrow, but also for the transformation of the news media in the digital age.
“The future of news depends on the kind of ‘teaching hospital’ innovation and training that the creative combination of the Cronkite School and Arizona PBS will make possible,” Downie said. “At the same time, it promises to provide residents of the Phoenix area and much of the rest of Arizona with significant public service journalism in a university-based non-profit model that could serve as a blueprint for universities and public broadcasting stations everywhere.”
ASU also hopes other media organizations will bring their ideas to Cronkite to experiment on the Arizona PBS platforms.
“There remains a tremendous need for reinvention and disruptive innovation in today’s news industry,” Callahan said. “Our Arizona PBS initiative can provide a place where commercial news operations can try out their ideas.”
Kelly McCullough, a Cronkite alumnus and general manager of Arizona PBS, said histeam is excited about Eight becoming a more integrated part of the university while continuing to serve Arizonans at the highest levels.
“We will continue to proudly bring Arizonans all of the quality programming they want and deserve,” McCullough said. “And now, as part of the Cronkite School, we will be able to develop new local content to complement our current signature PBS programs — everything from ‘Arizona Horizon’ and ‘Horizonte’ to ‘PBS NewsHour,’ ‘NOVA’ and ‘Downton Abbey.’”
Arizona PBS reaches nearly 1.9 million households and 4.8 million people across 80 percent of the state. Located in the 12th largest media market in the U.S., it has more than 1 million weekly viewers and the fourth-highest prime-time viewership per capita among the nation’s major market PBS stations. Eight also has the second-largest viewership of the 57 university-operated PBS stations.
Photo Courtesy of Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication
Arizona State University is building a new Arizona Center for Law and Society in downtown Phoenix on the block between Polk and Taylor and First and Second Streets.
With Phoenix’s City Council approving $12 million from the Community Reinvestment Fund to help finance ASU’s project, last December Mayor Greg Stanton joined ASU President Michael M. Crow to announce the Center’s intended 260,000-square-foot layout.
Crow and Stanton described a $129 million, six-story complex with two levels of underground parking, reserving 25% of the city block for the option of future development. Facilities will include not only the ASU College of Law but also a public law library and civic outreach center, a bookstore, a café, a “Great Hall,” and offices for the ASU Alumni Law Group, a non-profit, privately financed teaching law firm.
Members of the downtown Phoenix community expressed concern over seven proposed variances. In response, ASU organized public forums with participants from the Downtown Phoenix Partnership, the Thunderdome Neighborhood Association for NonAuto Mobility, and the Roosevelt Action Alliance. One meeting brought together Downtown Voices Coalition with representatives from the city, ASU, and the two design firms involved with this project (New York’s Ennead Architects and Phoenix’s Jones Studio). Discussion covered the project’s compatibility with the foot- and bike-friendly improvements made to First Street last October, which included tree plantings, parklets, and revised parking.
“First Street is developed as a pedestrian corridor,” maintained the Center’s zoning narrative, “accommodating pocket parks/pedestrian plazas/places of respite at the north and south ends of the site.”
While two of the variances reduced frontage on Taylor, First Street, and Polk, allowing more room to build, the narrative suggested that the shaded public areas on Polk and the mid-block cut-through will actually encourage pedestrian activity.
“All of these [variances] are consistent with a good urban building that invites the community and the campus onto the site, and with good planning by the City for greater density on the site over time,” says ASU Senior Vice President and University Planner Richard Stanley.
“Within the context of the campus and the context of the downtown,” Stanley continues, “it fulfills the intent and spirit…for that…district in terms of its ‘urban-ness,’ its walkability, and its general respect for downtown ambiance.”
Regarding foot-traffic concerns, “The pedestrian walkway along First Street is actually enhanced as a result of the building being there,” he says. “The landscaping and the trees that are in place along the edge of the parking lot now will be maintained, and then in addition to that we would build a berm on the building side of the sidewalk and put some benches in…and have some benches that would be integral into the berm itself.”
“The façade that will be along First Street starting from the south is an extremely open space…something which I think is visually quite active as you walk along the street,” Stanley elaborates. “And then at the northern corner of the building, on Taylor Street, there’s a seating area…and what some people have referred to as sort of a Speaker’s Corner.”
He concludes, “So I think there’s a lot of reasons why someone might choose…an equal choice of walking down First Street to get to Taylor or walking through the building.”
While the community appealed the variances through the standard process, the original approval of the design was ultimately upheld.
Initial discussion within ASU’s administration began around 2009, and the construction schedule spans two years. “I think it’s been a very good process,” he says, “a continuation of the partnership with the city…. It’s a big project both financially and programmatically for us, and so we needed to be very careful that we were planning it properly and that we had the financial wherewithal to be able to handle it.”
Stanley says that ASU’s endeavor may break ground as early as June, and the Center is scheduled to open for the fall term of 2016. “We’re just getting to the point of having the finalized bid prices in on the project,” he explains, “and that’s the point in the standard process at the universities that we take the project to the Board of Regents…we go back to them to have the final approval to proceed with the actual spending of the money.” Stanley adds, “We won’t be bringing them any surprises.”
“I will certainly be following up with…the groups that represent downtown neighborhoods,” said Stanley. “I’ll offer up regular progress reports on the building…. If there’s any dramatic change in the nature of the plans as we go along…we’d come back and talk to them about that.”