ABOR approves request to build LDS church on Polytechnic campus

 

The Arizona Board of Regents approved a proposal by ASU to enter into a leasing agreement with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to provide students with a religious studies institute on the Polytechnic campus. (Photo by Beth Easterbrook)

The Polytechnic campus will soon become ASU’s second campus with a religious studies institute available to students.

The Arizona Board of Regents approved an ASU proposal Feb. 17 to enter into a lease agreement with The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and create the institute.

While plans are not yet finalized, the University anticipates the religious studies institute will open in fall 2013, said Morgan Olsen, executive vice president, treasurer and chief financial officer for the University.

The institute would be similar to the $20 million Tempe Institute of Religion, which opened on the Tempe campus in 2007 and was established through a lease agreement between the University and the church, he said.

Though the construction site has been approved, it is unclear when it will begin, Olsen said.

“They would like to begin site preparation and construction sometime this summer, although some of that remains to be completely defined,” he said.

University officials plan to remove housing units on nearly five acres of land in order to build the institute.

The church will reimburse the University with a one-time payment of $633,320 for any potential lost housing revenue. The 99-year lease will be prepaid and cost $1.

Psychology junior Shawn Powell said the church’s institute on the Tempe campus provides him a comfortable place to socialize and study. He said Polytechnic students should check out the institute.

“It’s generally a quiet place where I can meet people that have some of the same views and standards that I do,” Powell said. “It’s a good place to make friends.”

Powell said he enjoys attending weekly events and activities hosted by the church.

“It’s a welcoming place, even for people who are not members of the church,” he said. “It’s a good, friendly place to hang out. You can feel comfortable.”

Biochemistry sophomore Garrett Seymore said he has been going to the Tempe facility for the last two years.

He said he and his wife enjoy attending some of the classes offered, such as marriage seminars, and utilizing study areas.

“As I come here and apply the things that I learn, all aspects of my life are better,” he said. “I’m a better student, a better husband and just a better person.  I think the benefit will be the same for Poly students.”

He said the new Mesa institute would be a great benefit to Polytechnic students as well.

“They’ll have a place like we do here to be able to relax and to learn,” Seymore said.

 

Reach the reporter at kmmandev@asu.edu

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