ASU, Chicago Cubs to share baseball stadium

A PIECE OF HISTORY: The Packard Stadium on ASU's Tempe campus has hosted baseball since 1974. Recently, the team has considered practicing and playing at other venues such as the Tempe Diablo Stadium and Hohokam Park. (Photo by Lisa Bartoli)

The Arizona Board of Regents recently gave ASU the green light to enter into a 30-year lease agreement with the Chicago Cubs to share a state-of-the-art baseball facility in Mesa.

The Board passed the measure unanimously on Thursday.

The facility would be located at the site of the current Riverview Golf Course, about four miles from the Tempe campus and is expected to be complete by 2014, according to a Board staff report.

It’s expected to cost around $84 million, ASU Vice President for Public Affairs Virgil Renzulli said. ASU would cover only $2 million of the cost — money that would go toward the construction of a clubhouse at the new facility.

Renzulli said the proposition is a positive for ASU because the cost to the University to repair Packard Stadium could be far greater than the cost for the new facility.

“The reason why this is a win-win for us is that Packard Stadium needs a lot of work, a number of our facilities do,” Renzulli said. “(The stadium) probably should be replaced rather than fixed because the fixing cost would be anywhere from $20 to $25 million.”

Regent LuAnn Leonard said the Board is looking forward to a partnership with the Cubs.

“It definitely will help in reducing our cost in regards to the use of the facility and the ASU students will be in a state-of-the-art facility that  (otherwise) might not have been available.”

Leonard said there were some concerns over keeping the tradition of ASU baseball because Packard has been the team’s home since 1974, but said the Board has been assured the facility will be a “good balance of ASU and the Cubs.”

The Cubs have held spring training at Hohokam Stadium in Mesa since 1979.

Renzulli said this proposal will allow ASU to use money in other areas of need, such as renovating Sun Devil Stadium and said it is a great opportunity for the University.

“To have a great facility like that looks like a very good opportunity to pursue,” Renzulli said.

Reach the reporter at brennan.j.smith@asu.edu

Click here to subscribe to the daily State Press newsletter.