Thursday, July 13, 2006

Gold dome at ASU could be razed

[Source: Katie Nelson, Arizona Republic] -- The gold-color dome that is the old Valley National Bank's roof was supposed to signify stability that would stay steady well into the future. Instead, Arizona State University is making plans that could tear down the old bank building. Preservationists are waging a fight to save the building, but it may be a fight they can't win despite complaints and concerns registered with the city and the university. ASU officials are moving toward razing the dome to make way for the university's new Barrett Honors College. The space is essential, according to Terri Shafer, a university spokeswoman. "We don't have many options," Shafer said. "This is a fully built campus surrounded by a community. By building this additional residential facility, the plan is that students can live on campus and take up fewer single-family homes in the area, which has been a big issue."

The domed building at Apache Boulevard and Rural Road now acts as ASU's Visitor Information Center. It also houses a handful of ASU organizations and about two-dozen employees. People primarily come there looking for campus directions. ASU's plans envision building room for about 1,700 beds, classrooms, administrative offices, a dining hall and activity spaces. Pending approvals, the time line for completion is 2009. No final decisions have been made, according to ASU officials. Even so, historical preservationists are upset the university is even considering doing away with the building. "I'm very disappointed," said Bob Gasser, chairman of the Tempe Historic Preservation Commission. "To me it's a highly prominent building. We need places like that so they are there for a future so they can in turn relate to our past."

[Note: To read the full article, click here. Photo source: City of Tempe.]