Arizona State University and YMCA broke ground on a 64,283-sq-ft addition to the Lincoln Family Downtown YMCA at 350 N. First Ave. in downtown Phoenix. The building was originally erected in 1955 and was last renovated in 2006.

The ASU Downtown Phoenix Campus Recreation Center (or Y@ASU for short) is one of four fitness centers across the ASU university system that students voted to fund with an increase to their recreation fees of $75 per each semester per student. Tempe, Ariz.-based Sundt Construction is the general contractor under a $19.2-million construction contract. The total project cost is estimated at $25 million.  

The 2,500 students from ASU’s downtown Phoenix campus that currently use the YMCA will be transitioned to the new building, which will adjoin the existing YMCA at ground level. The five-story addition will include a large gymnasium, weight room, an indoor track, multi-purpose space, locker rooms and a rooftop leisure pool.

Tania Mendes, former student body president of the Downtown Phoenix campus, is excited to see the project come to fruition. She was instrumental in identifying the need for the recreation facilities three years ago, and worked with other ASU student body presidents to move the project forward. New Sun Devil Fitness Complexes are being constructed on the West and Polytechnic campuses, and the Sun Devil Fitness Complex on the Tempe campus is being expanded.

“Our students provided unbelievable leadership to help us to design a university where all students gaining access to the university would have access to this environment for their total development,” says Michael Crow, ASU president. “The downtown campus with this facility now finishes the first step of that evolutionary process to an all-in living and learning environment.”

ASU’s Exercise Nutrition & Wellness academic program will be housed at the new downtown center upon its completion for the fall 2013 semester. Linda Vaughan, director of the School of Nutrition and Health Promotion, says the lab facilities will be state of the art, and students and faculty will benefit from being closely embedded in the surrounding downtown community.

The new recreation center will be 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, Phoenix, designed the building to achieve LEED-Silver certification.

“By the time ASU Downtown students return for school next fall, they will be able to exercise and relax in a building that is as beautiful as it is functional,” says Ryan Abbott, Sundt’s science and technology group leader. Abbott also worked on the Interdisciplinary Science and Technology Building IV for Arizona State University on the Tempe campus, which Sundt completed this summer.