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Sun Devil Stadium renovations progress, 'Master plan' in early stages

Chief of staff Rocky Harris spoke about a long-term plan to improve every sports facility at ASU.

Construction on the Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe continues on Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2016.
Construction on the Sun Devil Stadium in Tempe continues on Tuesday, Feb. 23, 2016.

Almost three months into Phase II of renovations to Sun Devil Stadium, the football field is unrecognizable.

The lower bowl bleachers on the west side have been torn out, leaving a large dirt mound. The field has no grass. Concession stands are being torn down. The north side is dirt.

Sun Devil Athletics Chief of staff Rocky Harris said that as of now, the schedule and budget are going as expected, but he acknowledged they won’t know for sure whether or not it will stay under budget until later parts of Phase III.

“Usually the biggest budget impacts happen at the end because you have some issues that come up that you can’t control,” Harris said. “You’re always trying to stay within budget in the time that you’re given, that’s an ongoing battle in trying to figure out what to add.”

He listed off some additions to the stadium: a sun deck on the north side with food, beverages and concessions; a concourse to connect the south to the north; and an elevator shaft being constructed in the north.

Because of the construction, there won’t be a spring football game this season or next.

The schedule for spring practice was released on Tuesday afternoon. The team will begin on Monday, March 14 at 8:30 a.m. The Sun Devils have eight practices scheduled in March and seven in April. After the final practice, on April 16, they’ll host the Sun Devil Youth Experience Clinic.

Sun Devil Athletics has hired an architecture firm to undergo a six month overview of all the athletic facilities and map out a way to revamp them. It’s a long-term project; Harris said it would take 10 or 20 years and they're not focusing on a specific facility yet.

“Things are in motion," he said. "It’s kind of like where are we at with all of our facilities, and then we’ll start prioritizing which ones we want to try to take on first.”

Ray Anderson, the athletic director, has recently spoken about the condition of Wells Fargo Arena, which he sees as a priority to upgrade. He spoke about it on Monday at the introductory press conference for Stevie Mussie, the new head volleyball coach.

“We’ve made no secret of our desire to upgrade, frankly, all of our facilities and certainly our Olympic sports,” Anderson said. “Having an upgraded facility for volleyball is on our radar, and we will be pursuing those upgrades as earnestly as we can.”

Mussie said that the locker rooms have changed, and the video room received updates, but there haven’t been any major changes to Wells Fargo Arena.

“There’s obviously plans, which are always great to have, so we’re looking forward to that, but we don’t need a crazy amount of things,” she said.

On Jan. 30, ESPN reported ASU and the Arizona Coyotes were in talks of a joint stadium between the two. In an email on Tuesday, Coyote manager of media relations Greg Dillard said there were no updates on the progress, but they are "exploring several options."

Harris sounded confident.

“We have a good relationship with the Coyotes; we get to play a handful of games out there, and we plan to do that next year too,” he said. “Our partnership with them has been phenomenal. They’ve over delivered on everything we’ve asked of them."

Related Links:

ASU announces latest plans to renovate Sun Devil Stadium

Sun Devil Stadium welcomes three generations of ASU alumni with Someburros

Note: The article has been updated to include the quote from Dillard.

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