City, MCC, schools seek athletic hub in Fiesta District - East Valley Tribune: Mesa

City, MCC, schools seek athletic hub in Fiesta District

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Posted: Sunday, October 10, 2010 8:00 am | Updated: 5:33 pm, Tue Oct 12, 2010.

City, school and college officials envision a future when Mesa’s Fiesta Ddistrict is a hub for amateur sporting events, concerts and state athletic competitions.

They hope a $60,000 feasibility study will shed light on whether or not it’s the right time and place for such a complex, and what the economic impact could be.

For more than a decade, the Mesa Unified School District, Mesa Community College and city leaders have talked about creating an athletic/events complex that could attract out-of-town visitors who would spend money in surrounding restaurants and hotels.

Each group sees various benefits.

For Mesa schools, which continually dominate high school state championships, it could mean a local venue to host those events instead of driving to the West Valley.

For MCC, it could provide its athletes with locker rooms they currently don’t have and a state-of-the-art facility to attract students.

For the city, it’s a potential way to boost an area of town in need of redevelopment.

The contract for the feasibility study has not been signed, said Mesa senior civil engineer Chris Scott.

But a company has been identified, along with a list of questions each group hopes to have answered.

The three groups will split the cost of the study — $20,000 each. The final report could be before the City Council in late February, Scott said.

“There’s a lot of different elements that could go into it, but what we’ve asked them to focus primarily on is the events center with 6,500 seats and a football/track stadium which we envision to be 17,000 to 18,000 seats,” he said.

In addition, the study will explore the possibility of an 80,000-square-foot student recreation center with swimming pools.

Jared Langkilde, director of development at MCC, said the eastern part of the Dobson Road and Southern Avenue campus is being targeted as a potential location.

That’s where the football stadium and parking lots are located.

“We have a huge need,” he said. “A lot of our students have for the last 45 years used their automobiles as their locker rooms. They’re changing in their cars. When they come

to us from the (kindergarten through 12th grade) system and are accustomed to locker rooms and showers, it’s a little shock to now do that in their cars. As a result, a lot of the talent that would come to MCC and stay here in our community gets shipped out of state because ASU and others will only accept so many.”

The events center could also host graduation ceremonies and lectures.

“The whole East Valley needs an inside venue for that,” he said. “We could use these facilities all by ourselves no problem, but there is no way we could construct them on our own.”

Scott said once it’s determined whether or not a complex like this is feasible and what it should look like, then the groups will look at how to fund it.

The groups are also watching to see what happens with the Cubs, said Steve Hogen, director of athletics and physical education for the Mesa school district.

“I think before we get too far we need to do the due diligence on the feasibility study and see an independent source say ‘Yes, this would be a good idea’ or not,” he said.

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