Arizona Christian University acquired the Glendale/Peoria YMCA, which is another step in expanding the liberal arts school.
ACU was able to purchase the 5-acre property thanks to donations from Green Fund, headed by David and Barbra Green of Hobby Lobby and the Museum of the Bible.
“It’s a fantastic story, and one that we’re really grateful for,” said James Griffiths, the vice president of university engagement.
“The Green Fund became aware of the opportunity that we had to purchase the YMCA property and made a generous gift to the university to help make that happen, along with some other record-breaking fundraising that enabled us to make that happen.”
Griffiths said the timing and the partnership was ideal.
“This was just us connecting well with people who were interested in what was happening in the school and wanted to be a part of it,” Griffiths said.
This is just another step in Arizona Christian’s growth. In 2018, in a land swap with ASU’s Thunderbird School of Global Management, the Firestorm took over the university’s facilities. The move gave Arizona Christian more room to expand.
“We have been so grateful to have the facility that we have,” Griffiths said. “But as a graduate business school, the Thunderbird School did not have robust athletic facilities. As a liberal arts undergraduate school, that is something that we need.”
The YMCA is a huge upgrade to the previous facilities. With this new space, ACU has its own gymnasium, which will host volleyball, basketball and wrestling matches, as well as a gym facility, a lap pool, locker rooms and a group fitness room. Along with that, it will set up the gym to cater to athletes who train using the cardio and strength facilities.
This addition does not only help the ACU student athletes, though. All the previously mentioned amenities will also be available to the ACU student and staff population, including club and intramural sports. Now with the new space, students, athletes and staff will have a place to work out and compete. This gives Arizona Christian a home court advantage.
“We have been grateful for those in the broader Glendale area, including the YMCA, who have allowed us to rent and lease space for our athletes to train and compete all over Glendale,” Griffiths said.
“But what this will allow us to do now is to have our own space.”
Finding the facilities needed to keep up the multitude of sports programs is tedious and expensive, Griffiths said.
The Firestorm family has a reputable sports program. They have accumulated many awards and championships over the years, including 11 championships since 2011, 10 nationally ranked teams across multiple sports, as well as produced over 200 all-conference athletes, which is the most by any school in the conference.
With the addition of the YMCA, ACU has its sights set on more achievements. Some of these Firestorm athletes have even made it to the big leagues, including nine former ACU athletes making it to the Major League Baseball draft.
During this past sports season, as a part of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics and the National Christian College Athletic Association, Arizona Christian’s teams have performed well. Its men’s basketball team finished 24-3, ranked No. 5, and took home the Golden State Athletic Conference (GSAC) title. The women’s basketball team finished at 12-5, which was second place in the GSAC East.
Aside from the sports teams, this is a real morale booster for the students enrolled at ACU, providing them with a big upgrade to what they previously had and will be a huge leap to helping the university grow in the future.