Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Domed roof of Tempe's former Visitor Information Center still without a home

[Source: Emma Breysse, ASU Web Devil] -- A former Tempe landmark that was displaced last year is still homeless, and plans for its future are up in the air. University officials looking for a new home for the gold-domed roof of the former Visitor Information Center at the University have begun eyeing the new Vista Del Sol residential community currently under construction. The University preserved the dome after the building, formerly at Rural Road and Apache Boulevard, was demolished in February 2007, despite the protests of community members and historic preservationists.

The University announced at the time that it had plans to incorporate the dome into the design of the new honors college facility but earlier this year looked to the new luxury residences at Vista del Sol to include it. Though the dome is still in storage while the University debates plans, Leah Hardesty, an ASU spokeswoman, said the University does still intend to find a use for it. "ASU is actively looking to find a new home for the former gold dome roof of the Visitor Information Center," Hardesty said.

While plans are still uncertain, Hardesty said one of the most likely options is a public ramada, or semi-enclosed shaded shelter, along a new pedestrian mall. "This mall is the major connection between the south campus residences and the center of the Tempe campus," Hardesty said. Other plans were not specified. The University allocated about $1.3 million to preserve the dome. The Arizona Preservation Foundation fought against the demolition of the building, a Valley National Bank built in 1962, because the bank lent money to build many of the new homes in Tempe. Many older Tempeans have developed a bond with the building and its specific location, a representative of the group said in 2007.

[Note: To read the full article, click here. Photo source: Jamie Scharer, State Press: a worker explains the system that holds the dome together. The dome was removed February 2007.]