Mesa’s Higher Education Initiative required physical space – a “bricks and mortar” play. The City wanted to attract institutions that prioritized classroom learning – not a virtual environment. To accommodate new schools in Downtown Mesa, the City renovated and redeveloped three vacant, city-owned buildings. Altogether, more than 85,000 sq. ft. of unused space was converted into state-of-the-art classrooms, conference and community rooms, nutrition and engineering labs, as well as academic, administrative and study spaces.
The initiative includes the new Mesa Center for Higher Education (MCHE), a 53,000 sq. ft. facility located at 245 W. 2nd St. in Downtown Mesa. The building that once served as Mesa’s City Courthouse underwent state-of-the-art renovations in 2013 and offers 13 classrooms, six fully-equipped science and engineering labs, offices, conference rooms, and numerous student study and gathering spaces for multiple schools to share. Approximately 11,000 sq. ft. of space is still available for expansion. Current occupants include Wilkes University and Benedictine University.