Phoenix residents and Downtown campus students gathered at Civic Space Park Friday morning to celebrate the groundbreaking ceremony for the new ASU student recreation center.
The Lincoln Family Downtown YMCA and ASU’s Downtown campus have teamed up to build a 64,000-square-foot facility. Known as the Y@ASU, the new five-story recreation center will include a student lounge, a large gym, an indoor track and a rooftop leisure pool and space for health classes.
“This project represents the complete college experience,” ASU President Michael Crow said before the ceremony.
The $25 million facility will be equipped with energy-saving features such as a variable refrigerant flow air system and solar-heat shading, according to an ASU press release. It will be located on First Avenue north of Van Buren Street, next to the YMCA.
Construction began two weeks ago for the new facility to get a head start on the project, according to Dean of Students Georgeana Montoya.
The center is expected to be completed in fall 2013, but Crow hopes that it can be open for students by the first day of classes in August 2013.
Crow said engaging both the minds and bodies of students is crucial for “driving the success of this community forward.”
Although the Tempe campus is the most developed of the four ASU campuses, building the Y@ASU is the first step of an evolutionary process for the Downtown campus, Crow said.
“We solve the problems that are necessary and advance very quickly,” he said.
Student recreation funding from all four campuses has helped to create new additions to all four campuses, said journalism senior Jessica Abercrombie, who is the Downtown campus representative for the facility fee board.
“We pay money for education but additional campus resources are the things that shape who we are and help students become better people,” Abercrombie said, adding that the Tempe campus is also expanding its field space and the Polytechnic and West campuses are getting new tracks and recreation space.
The mentality that ASU is “one university in many places” makes it difficult to focus solely on the Downtown campus, but Crow said that through partnerships with organizations like the YMCA “we can literally do anything.”
Valley of the Sun YMCA President and CEO George Scobas envisions the new facility eventually becoming the center of campus, after seeing rapid growth over the past six years.
“A vibrant downtown needs a vibrant university,” Scobas said.
Mayor Greg Stanton said during the press conference that he was affected by the YMCA growing up and knows the importance of a recreation center specifically for college students.
“I can’t remember a time when I personally wasn’t active in that Y,” Stanton said.
The YMCA is the most diverse place in Phoenix, Stanton said, mentioning that people with a wide variety of backgrounds are members of the downtown location.
Stanton added that downtown Phoenix and the Downtown campus have a symbiotic relationship.
“The success of Arizona State University and the future success of this city are one in the same,” Stanton said.
Some ASU students who attended the ceremony agreed that the Downtown campus has a better sense of community than the Tempe campus, and that the new recreation center will help to bring the community together even more.
Sustainable tourism junior Paulina Sanchez enjoys the close proximity of the YMCA to campus and is excited to have a recreation center specifically for ASU students.
“I feel like I belong here,” Sanchez said, who recently moved from Tempe because of her love for the Downtown campus.
She hopes the new facility will attract more students to live downtown and become more involved with events and activities.
Health sciences and health policy junior Fiona Bongcas is also happy that ASU’s School of Nutrition and Health Promotion will be a part of the recreation center. This opens up job opportunities for students interested in personal training internships or teaching classes at the center.
Bongcas said she would use the facility more than five times a week.
Although the new facility will benefit ASU students in the following year, criminal justice senior Jessica Norman will graduate before the center is complete.
“I’m bummed that I can’t experience it,” Norman said, “But I am extremely excited for the next generation of ASU students who will.”
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