As Arizona State University expands, the university’s student center operated by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is making plans to do the same.
The church is planning to add on to its LDS Institute.
Requests that would allow the expansion were approved Aug. 17 by the Tempe Planning and Zoning Commission and are expected to go to the City Council in September.
The LDS Institute just west of McAllister Avenue and Orange Street, acts as a social center and also offers classes to about 1,200 students each semester. There are now two buildings of about 34,500 square feet.
When the center was built 43 years ago, it was on the edge of the campus, like the Catholic Church’s Newman Center on University Drive is now. But as the university has grown, it has enveloped the LDS Institute.
Mesa lawyer David K. Udall, president of the church’s Tempe Arizona University Stake, which supervises the LDS Institute, said plans call for tearing down the old buildings and building a larger structure and adding a parking garage.
The new building will consist of an about 40,500-square-foot two-level facility that will house administrative offices, classrooms, multipurpose rooms and a sanctuary. The parking structure will be a 198,972-square-foot four-level structure with parking for 648 vehicles.
Udall said the church is trading a small piece of land it owns near the ASU football stadium for a similar piece of property adjoining the institute for the parking facility.
“We’d be thrilled to have more room. We deal with a great many students here, and this is a very old facility,” said Hyrum Wright, institute director.
Wright said the mission of the institute “is to be a place of learning.
“We teach religion classes, everything from Old to the New Testament. And we study the Book of Mormon. We invite all people regardless of religion, race or whatever to come and take a class here.”