The City of Sierra Vista invested in the revitalization of the west end by adding businesses and cleaning up the area. The University of Arizona College of Applied Science and Technology (CAST) purchased a building on the west side of town so they can be a part of the revitalization.

Gary Packard, Dean of UArizona CAST, said one of the reasons the university decided to invest in property on the west side of the city is so they can be more visible and open to the public.

You know the saying out of sight out of mind. Were kind of hidden in the community,” Packard said. “So this building became available and its a chance for us to put ourselves in the middle of the city and make a direct impact in this community.

The university purchased the Sofia building in the Piazza San Lorenzo for $3 million this year. Packard said the location of the building was a big draw for the investment because it’s across from Fort Huachuca. A majority of the students enrolled at CAST are in cybersecurity programs, which is why Packard wanted to be near the installation.

The new location is currently used as an office building with a couple occupants. Packard said they are currently in the design phase of the project and estimates that the construction will start in the fall or winter. The plan is to transform the space into an interactive lab for online students to use from all over the county. Packard also wants members of the public to walk into the space and learn about how they can secure the electronic devices they have.

Were a public university. We will act like a public building,” Packard said. “So we will have hours, you can get in here, you can see what were doing. Well have displays like I talked about before ways to interact with us that are important.

A lot of technology and wiring needs to be added to the space. Packard said they are going to add a high-tech event space and meeting room for the public to use. Because of the current supply chain, Packard said the project could take 12 to 18 months to complete.