ASU partnership revitalizes downtown Phoenix

Mayor has said he is committed to helping ASU’s Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law move downtown

By Sarah Blais

Cronkite News Service

A $25 million recreation center expansion funded by student fees advances a collaboration with Arizona State University that has helped rejuvenate downtown, Mayor Greg Stanton said Friday.

“This friendship, this partnership between this great city and this university, is going to continue and go nowhere but up,” Stanton said at a groundbreaking ceremony for the five-story building.

The facility will rise alongside the Lincoln Family Downtown YMCA, which has served as the recreation center for ASU’s Downtown Phoenix Campus. At 62,700 square feet, it will feature a gymnasium, weight room, indoor track, student lounge, bike co-op and rooftop pool along with classroom space.

Certain features, including the classrooms and pool, will be limited to ASU students when the building opens in fall 2013. The new center will connect to the YMCA building on the first floor.

The expansion is funded entirely by a $75-per-semester fee that ASU’s student government endorsed to improve recreational facilities on all campuses.

“Students are taking increasingly more ownership, wanting ASU to be improved,” ASU President Michael Crow said.

Leah Novak, a master’s student at majoring in recreation and tourism, said having a pool in particular will make the recreation center more appealing.

“I think it is going to be awesome,” she said.

Phoenix voters cleared the way for the downtown campus by approving a $223 million bond in 2006. With the College of Nursing & Health Innovation, College of Public Programs, Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication among the units offering courses, the campus had nearly 10,000 students during the 2011-12 school year.

Stanton has said he is committed to helping ASU’s Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law move downtown. On Friday, Crow called the move “probable” and said a decision would come soon.

George Scobas, president and CEO of the Valley of the Sun YMCA, said the downtown campus has helped bring residents and businesses that have revitalized downtown.

“This was a great partnership,” he said.

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August 2012