Mixed Feelings: ASU students torn on plans for new arena

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By Connor Fries

ASU students are on both sides of the fence about a new $115 million arena near the university’s ASU Tempe campus.

The as-of-yet unnamed arena will be located on Packard Drive, north of the Packard parking structure, and will be home to the ASU men’s ice hockey team and other Sun Devil teams.

The 5,000-seat arena will also host concerts and shows when not in use by Sun Devil Athletics.

Sophomore Conor McGill says he’s excited about the facility.

“As a sports journalist, I’m super pumped for the new arena,” McGill says. “Both the hockey and gymnastic programs have worked hard over the last couple of years and deserve an arena of their own.”

McGill says the arena will make a positive impact on the community as well.

“The fact that the arena will be used for other events is great to hear,” he says. “ASU has started to use their sports facilities more and more for community use.”

Senior Melinda Sawyer is also excited about the arena’s economic and social impacts, even though she’s graduating in December.

“I think, of course, it will be good for ASU,” Sawyer says. “It is giving more space for other stuff, like events and hockey. Just like anything being built, it’s good for the community.”

Other students, like sophomore Annabella Medina, say they believe it is the wrong time to spend millions on an arena.

“The timing seems a little strange to me, but obviously that wasn’t planned,” she says. “I think I’d be more excited about it opening if concerts and games were going on in-person at the moment. I hope it will be good for the Tempe community in the future, though.”

Sophomore Cami Parrish says she’s not excited about the announcement.

“I personally think this is a terrible idea, and I think allocating $115 million toward something that may or may not be in use by the time it is built is a terrible idea,” Parrish says.

Parrish says she wishes ASU would put the money toward a campus multicultural center, which has been requested by students, or provide resources to students who are attending classes virtually.

“So many students have been asking ASU for a multicultural center for months now,” Parrish says. “I think it’s a blatant disrespect to the students who are asking for a multicultural center on campus.”

Junior Katelyn Kubly is also concerned.

“I think it’s good, but then again, it would be interesting to see where these funds could have been reallocated to, especially since there are so many students struggling during this time,” Kubly says.

ASU Executive Vice President Morgan Olsen says the arena will be a good addition to ASU and an important part of the Novus Innovation Corridor.

The Novus Innovation Corridor is a project between ASU and Catellus Development Corp that is expected to bring offices, residential properties, hotels, retail and other types of businesses adjacent to ASU’s Tempe campus in hope of collaboration with the university.

“The potential there is first substantial economic development, economic opportunity for individuals, great for businesses of the Valley and more opportunities for collaboration with the university,” Olsen says.

“Having that type of venue will allow us to attract the best possible student athletes, too. It would be wonderful for their experience. It would also be great from a spectator standpoint, which is the really enjoyable part of life on campus.”

Construction is set to begin in January, and the arena will officially open in December 2022. CT

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