Arizona State University officials will ask state lawmakers in the upcoming 2009 session to authorize the creation of a special university stadium district to help finance renovation of the school’s 50-year-old Sun Devil Stadium.

The proposed district would levy a property tax on new commercial development on university-owned land in Tempe. Revenue from the tax would support 50-year bonds for up to $170 million of work to the stadium.

The proposal for the district was developed by an 11-member planning committee appointed in May 2007 to study ways to upgrade ASU’s athletic facilities. If the 2009 Legislature approves the creation of the district, officials said it would take three years to generate enough funds to issue bonds and begin work on the stadium.

The legislation being proposed would allow for the establishment of a stadium-taxation district in any county containing a state university. The district would be based on the Arizona Sports and Tourism Authority, which issued revenue bonds to build University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, and the Maricopa County Stadium District, which finances baseball spring training facilities in the Phoenix area.

ASU said the stadium needs $60 million to $65 million of structural repairs that must begin soon, and more than $100 million of upgrades to electrical and plumbing systems, concession areas, and other improvements.

Sun Devil Stadium had 30,000 seats when it was built in 1958, but additions were made from 1971 through 1992 that raised the capacity to more than 70,000. The school has spent $10.8 million for repairs on the stadium since 2005.

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