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ASU Football Stadium Renovation

Don Fickel, Reporter, Puma Press

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Arizona State University completed the first stage of a three-stage $256 million project in early September to refurbish and redesigned its 57-year-old football stadium in Tempe.

The project plan was initiated in April of 2014 and the goal for its completion is late summer 2017 — just in time for the football season. The project is being developed in three stages, so games can still be played in the stadium during the fall season.

In an ASU athletic department press release from Sept. 17, 2014, ASU President Michael Crow said, “Arizona State University takes pride in its status as an elite institution with an elite athletics program. …The plan to renovate Sun Devil Stadium gives ASU an opportunity to increase our investment in the community and to set the standard for collegiate athletics facilities.”

ASU’s goal is to maintain most of the traditional look of Sun Devil Stadium while redesigning and improving the infrastructure of the stadium. It will also enhance the game day experience for the fans while utilizing the renovated stadium as a year-around facility.

Included in the stadium renovation will be a decrease in seating capacity from 71,000 to approximately 58,000 seats.

In a telephone interview, Ray Anderson, the Athletic Director at ASU, said, “The decrease in the number of seats is something that’s happening in a lot of stadiums around the country. This helps ensure you have a full stadium and that presents a better game day atmosphere…to help give us a game day advantage over our competition.”

This decision will give the stadium a more intimate feel. It was also made for a number of other reasons. Among these are increases in leg room for many of the seats in the stadium, the addition of back supports for the seats, and the replacement of many of the benches in the stadium with permanent seats.

Anderson also said, “We don’t just call this a renovation, but a reinvention of the stadium that will help in the recruiting of student athletes when they see the improvements and the game day atmosphere at ASU games.”

Phase one construction included the tear down of bleachers and the construction of permanent student seating in the south end zone of the stadium.  There will be a significant number of other upgrades including these:

  1. A seating section for the ASU band in the north end zone,
  2. An increase in the number of concession services and restrooms in the stadium,
  3. A new premium video board and a new sound system for the stadium,
  4. American Disability Ac) improvements throughout the stadium to improve accessibility,
  5. Improved site lines and proximity of seats closer to the playing field,
  6. The addition of Wi-Fi capability for fans attending the games,
  7. An 85,000-square-foot student athlete training facility located above the north end zone of the stadium,
  8. The addition of a patio deck for fans to congregate during games above the south end zone student seats.

According to an ASU athletic department press release on Sept 17, 2014, financing of the renovations will not use tax payer dollars, but will be funded though private donations and other revenue sources. The university initiated a public fund raising drive to help support the project and its goal is to raise $85 million in private donations. Other sources of income will include $60 million in the sale of revenue bonds, PAC-12 Conference distributions and increased stadium revenue. In addition, ASU is planning on income from the development of an athletic facilities district on Tempe Town Lake.

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