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Downtown Phoenix fitness complex hosts grand opening

October 01, 2013

Student and community health took a major stride with the grand opening ceremony of ASU’s Sun Devil Fitness Complex, a $24.1 million student recreation center in the heart of Downtown Phoenix.

More than 200 people gathered for the Oct. 1 grand opening ceremony at the new five-story facility, located just south of the Lincoln Family Center Downtown YMCA at 350 N. First Ave., Phoenix, in between Fillmore and Van Buren streets. Dignitaries included ASU President Michael Crow, YMCA President and CEO George Scobas, Phoenix Councilman Michael Nowakowski and ASU student Eddie Ralph.

“Student leadership designed this facility and worked with various professionals to see their vision to fruition,” Crow said. “They’re paying for it through the taxation of themselves and our students decided these are the amenities they want in order to prosper and be successful as they advance toward their careers.”

In the past, students from ASU’s Downtown Phoenix campus used the recreation and fitness amenities at the Lincoln Family Downtown YMCA, which adjoins the new building at ground level. The building was erected in 1955 and was last renovated in 2006. About 2,500 ASU students are members of the downtown YMCA, who partnered with the university on the new complex.

Scobas said the Sun Devil Fitness Complex forges a new bond between the two long-standing institutions.

“The new state-of-the-art facility not only distinguishes ASU, the YMCA and the City Of Phoenix, but cements our community with a new synergy of students, downtown residents and business people,” Scobas said.

The 73,800-square-foot facility features a large gymnasium, cardio and weight space, an indoor track, multi-purpose space, student lounge, locker rooms and a rooftop leisure pool. A bicycle co-op is expected to open sometime in the fall.

Exercise & Wellness, an academic program in ASU’s School of Nutrition and Health Promotion, is housed on the second floor of the center.

“The Exercise & Wellness program lab facilities in the fitness complex will provide our students with a state-of-the-art facility,” said Linda Vaughan, director of the School of Nutrition and Health Promotion. “We are delighted to have our students and faculty so closely embedded in the community.”

The new recreation center is equipped with numerous energy-saving features, including a variable refrigerant flow air system and natural day-lighting balanced with solar-heat shading. Gabor Lorant Architects of Phoenix designed the building to achieve LEED Silver certification and Sundt Construction built the center.

“Walk around Downtown Phoenix and you can’t help but sense the renaissance taking place. We applaud the students of ASU for their vision, the university for its development proficiency, Gabor Lorant Architects for its prowess and the many professionals that turned an idea into an impressive reality,” said Ryan Abbott, Sundt Laboratory group leader.

Senior Eddie Ralph, who is a student at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication, and works at the complex as a Sun Devil Fitness aide, said the best feature of the building is its ability to bring students together.

“When I started here as a freshman we’d have to play all over the Valley because we didn’t have a home,” Ralph said. “This is a place where students can come and relax, participate in sports, hangout by the pool, interact with classmates and start new friendships.”

The center is funded entirely by a student government-endorsed fee of $75 per semester. No state dollars or tuition monies were used in the funding of construction.

The Sun Devil Fitness Complex is one of four fitness centers across the university system that students voted to fund with an increase to their recreation fees. New Sun Devil Fitness Complexes were also constructed on the West and Polytechnic campuses, and the Sun Devil Fitness Complex on the Tempe campus was recently expanded.

For more information about the new ASU Downtown Phoenix Campus Recreation, call the Dean of Students Office at 602-496-4357 or send an email to