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Sun Devil Stadium’s latest malfunctions demonstrate need for rebuild

LISTEN: Rocky Harris, Senior Associate Athletic Director

Talk of a new Sun Devil Stadium accelerated during Arizona State’s eye-opening 2013 season, with many feeling the program was on the precipice of being recognized as one of the nation’s elite programs.

And, despite the 38-14 Cardinal drubbing in the Pac-12 Championship game, off-the-field happenings at the game did just as much for such progress.

As noted on air by ESPN play-by-play broadcaster Brad Nessler, a loss of lighting affected the game — resulting not only in a layer of black shadows on the field but also becoming, for ASU senior associate athletic director Rocky Harris and staff, a black eye for the program.

The Pac-12 Championship game wasn’t the only game at the venue that had its share of off-the-field issues. The previous week, during the contest for the Territorial Cup versus Arizona, Sun Devil Stadium had other malfunctions.

“When we played U of A, the restrooms went out on one level of our stadium,” Harris told The Dan Bickley Show with Vince Marotta.

“And last week the lighting had some issues,” he said.

“With restrooms going out and issues with the lighting, those are basic amenities that fans expect that we’re not able to deliver.”

Plans, then, to rebuild Sun Devil Stadium are yet awaiting capital and the fundraising for such, Harris says, could come in an expedited fashion, thanks in part to the embarrassing facilities glitches.

The stadium, which first opened in 1958, now seats more than 70,000 and has played host not only to ASU in the past, but also to the Arizona Cardinals, the Fiesta Bowl, the Insight Bowl, the Buffalo Wild Wings Bowl, and, once, the San Diego Chargers due to wildfires in southern California.

Yet, much of the original structure has yet to undergo renovations.

“It’s the original plumbing that was installed 30-40 years ago,” Harris told the show.

Despite the departure of Steve Patterson — the “glue” who held the rebuild plans together, according to Harris, construction plans remain on schedule, although an actual date for the new Sun Devil Stadium hasn’t been set.