August 13, 2012
This week, thousands of school children are preparing for the commencement of another school year in the East Valley. Backpacks and lunch boxes are being prepped for the fresh start of the first day of school.
For the City of Mesa, there are other preparations beginning. Four universities will open their doors to higher education students next year. The result of a clear vision and a successful strategy, these nationally renowned universities have selected downtown Mesa for their next extension campuses.
Three of the colleges will be housed in a shared campus building downtown, the Mesa Center for Higher Education, that will debut before next fall. These colleges have the potential to transform the city center into a gathering place for students and academics. The introduction of thousands of students into the downtown community will serve as a catalyst for culture and business there. Just a short walk from the planned light rail extension, students will be able to live, study and play in this education hub of the East Valley. Imagine the ripple effect that these students could have on local businesses, restaurants, ticket sales at the MAC, and so much more.
For Mesa and the East Valley, this is another opportunity to redefine people’s perceptions about this region. The news coming from the east holds the promise of more tourism, more high-wage jobs, and better educational opportunities – all in the very near future. And by next fall, Mesa will be celebrating a whole new cohort of college students starting classes at Benedictine University, Westminster College, Albright College and Wilkes University.