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Mormon church to build where student housing currently stands at ASU Polytechnic
Arizona State University has made a deal with the Mormon church to build an Institute of Religion on the Polytechnic Campus in East Mesa. It’ll require the demolition of 13 student family housing units.
NADINE ARROYO RODRIGUEZ: The LDS Institute of Religion is going to be built right here on this empty land I’m standing on, just off of Innovation Way. It’s the main road in the middle of the campus. And surrounding the empty land are a few homes, It’s pretty dark out here. There are no lights in any of the homes, a clear indication no one is living in them. Some neighbors say they’ve seen workers going through some of those homes, clearing them out. For them it’s a sign these homes are going to be demolished.
JAY ANDERSEN: Its overall purpose is to help young single adults in the area have a religious instruction on campus.
ARROYO RODRIGUEZ: Jay Andersen is a Mormon Church stake president from Gilbert. He’s spearheading the institute’s development. And as a matter of transparency, I’m an ASU Campus resident not impacted by this project. For two years now, the Polytech campus has been going through many changes -- from road improvements to new buildings. Andersen says The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is hoping the latest development will further expand Mormon presence in the East Valley.
ANDERSEN: As the university continues to expand and grow more and more students will come to this area.
NADINE ARROYO RODRIGUEZ: The 20,000 square foot Institute will offer classes on the Book of Mormon and other religious courses, but students will not receive academic credits from ASU.
ANDERSEN: The Institute courses that will be offered are offered not just to members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, they’re offered to anyone.
ARROYO RODRIGUEZ: ASU officials were not immediately available to comment on tape for this story. But a spokesperson said the Mormon church agreed to pay ASU about $700,000 up front for 13 demolished housing units, and then the Church will lease the land for a nominal annual fee of $1 for the next century. This will be the church’s 34th Institute in Arizona. There’s one on just about every community college and University campus across the state.