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MESA, Ariz. -- The new spring training home of the Chicago Cubs is starting to take shape.

Mesa Mayor Scott Smith said as he was flying into the Valley last week, he looked out the window and saw that construction on the stadium is moving right along.

"I saw outlines of fields and where the bowl of the stadium is going," Smith said. "The dirt work is moving along very quickly. It won't be long until we actually start pouring concrete and doing vertical on the construction of the Cubs' training facility."

The $99 million stadium near the Loop 101 and 202 freeways is set to open next year.

The big question is whether Arizona State University will join the Cubs there. The university wants to move its baseball program out of on-campus 40-year-old Packard Stadium, which doesn't have many of the amenities that major college baseball programs require.

But ASU and the Cubs have not yet reached a partnership deal and Smith admits the university is also considering a move to Phoenix Municipal Stadium, spring home to the Oakland Athletics.

"They have talked with Phoenix. That's certainly an option for them if this does not happen," Smith said.

He contends that playing in the new stadium would be a great deal for both teams.

"It's a state-of-the-art facility." Smith said. "ASU is getting into this arrangement with minimal capital outlay. ... There's also long-term benefits to the Cubs, as you bring all these tens of thousands of new hands on site, which helps them with their Wrigleyville investment."

Wrigleyville would be an entertainment area, and would be built near the new stadium. It is named after the Cubs home stadium in Chicago, Wrigley Field.

Smith said negotiations are ongoing between the Cubs and ASU. Meanwhile, MLB.com reports the A's are talking with Mesa about moving to Hohokam Stadium in 2015.

Bob McClay, Reporter

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