New International Center Planned at Tempe’s Hackett House

Concept drawing of the new International Center to be built at Hackett House.

Tempe Sister Cities recently unveiled plans to its members to build a new International Center at Tempe’s historic Hackett House, the downtown headquarters of the organization, near 4th Street and Maple.

A concept drawing shows how the new Tempe Sister Cities International Center might look.

According to information sent to TSC members, the new International Center will be built on the Hackett House patio and replace the current tent structure. Inside the tent, Tempe Sister Cities hosts a variety of events and programs that support the organization. Because city codes have changed, the tent structure would no longer be allowed. In response, TSC decided to build a permanent structure in its place which will become the new International Center.

Concept drawing of the new International Center to be built at Hackett House.

The new building will provide space to host a variety of activities without the issues experienced in the current tent structure, such as exposure to heat, cold, wind, rain, noise from overhead planes and nearby bars and restaurants. It will feature reconfigured restrooms and a spiral staircase leading to a rooftop deck area for additional outdoor event space. The plans keep the original Hackett House building intact and only focus on developing the adjacent patio area.

Concept drawing of the new International Center to be built at Hackett House.

Several concept drawings and floor plans were sent to members along with a concept budget, currently set at $2 million. Former Arizona Congressman and Tempe Mayor Harry Mitchell has agreed to be the chairman of the fundraising committee.

As part of the capital campaign, TSC makes the case for why the structure is needed, explaining that the tent was initially intended to be a temporary solution for the need for event space and has since been replaced four times.

Concept drawing of the new International Center to be built at Hackett House.

With the tent, programming during the summer months has to be suspended because it’s simply too hot. During the winter months, the tent had to be heated which was expensive and licensing to do so by the Tempe Fire Department runs out in 2017. TSC says the additional rental income made possible by the new facility will help fund additional programs.  

Local architect John Kane, the lead architect for Tempe Center for the Arts, has agreed to head up the design team at no charge. The project has also received support from the Tempe Chamber of Commerce, Tempe Tourism, Tempe History Museum, Arizona State University and a variety of other local businesses.

For more information about Tempe Sister Cities or to learn more about the project, visit the Tempe Sister Cities website.  

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Tempe Sister Cities encourages cross-cultural cooperation and collaboration by building friendships between people and partnerships between communities. Tempe has ten sister cities worldwide and the number continues to grow. Sending students abroad through our Tempe Sister Cities Student Exchange program is our top priority, as well as supporting our sister cities through activities to promote international goodwill and cultural understanding. Fundraisers like Oktoberfest and Hackett House support our mission to bridge cultural divides and create personal connections both abroad and at home.   

Publisher’s Note:  This article was originally published March 19,2017        

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