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New hockey home, renovated Wells Fargo Arena on tap at ASU

(Flickr/John M. Quick)

The Arizona Board of Regents Business and Finance Committee will meet Thursday to review Wells Fargo Arena renovation plans, and plans for a new multi-purpose arena that would house ASU’s hockey team.

The projects are part of ASU’s annual $590 million capital development plan and would include a reconstruction of the entire lower bowl of Wells Fargo Arena.

Per the executive summary, the 175,000 square-foot arena would seat 5,000 spectators for hockey, wrestling and gymnastics, and would include 250-to-300 club, and 48 loge seats.

The arena would be located just north of Wells Fargo Arena, adjacent to the arboretum. The estimated cost of the two projects is $160 million, per the summary, all of which would be financed. The new arena is expected to be completed in time for the 2020-2021 season. Wells Fargo Arena’s renovations should be completed by the summer of 2021.

The Sun Devils currently play their home games at Oceanside Ice Arena, which has a capacity just under 1,000 with standing-room-only seats, but the Sun Devils play some of their marquee matchups at Gila River Arena in Glendale, home of the NHL’s Arizona Coyotes.

The new arena is viewed as a critical component in recruiting, and could also dovetail with the Sun Devils joining a conference. ASU currently plays as an independent. The program moved to Division I for the 2015-16 season. The move was made possible by private donations of $32 million by a group of hockey supporters.

Arizona State was the first power-five conference school to add men’s ice hockey since the Big Ten’s Penn State added the sport in 2012. There are currently 60 Division I hockey schools.

The executive summary notes that Wells Fargo Arena “has had very modest investment since it was constructed over forty years ago. Mechanical systems and infrastructure are at the end of or beyond their useful lives, and the facility’s appearance, function and amenities are outdated. A major interior renovation of the facility will provide much-needed mechanical and infrastructure upgrades, and bring state-of-the art technology to the arena, its locker rooms and the support areas.”

The Business and Finance Committee makes recommendations to the full ABOR board for consideration. The next regular board meeting is scheduled for Feb. 8.

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