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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Pride of Arizona may march to new facility

    The Pride of Arizona practices on McKale Field in preparation for this weeks half time show versus the University of Southern California. The marching band may be looking for a new place to practice.
    The ‘Pride of Arizona’ practices on McKale Field in preparation for this week’s half time show versus the University of Southern California. The marching band may be looking for a new place to practice.

    A proposed construction plan will renovate the McKale sports complex, potentially displacing the Pride of Arizona marching band, which practices on the McKale lawn.

    The construction will renovate the swimming and diving pool and add additional space for the gymnastics and basketball team to practice, said Arizona Athletics director Jim Livengood.

    “”For gymnastics, volleyball and basketball, we really only have one venue,”” Livengood said. “”Particularly in late fall, it really becomes an issue, as practice seasons overlap.””

    Livengood said he would not release further information until construction plans are finalized but speculated that construction would last for about 12 to 13 months.

    But for the Pride of Arizona, it seems like dǸja vu.

    Five years ago, the band dealt with similar nomadic issues as it was displaced from the McKale lawn for the construction of the Hall of Champions, said Jay Rees, director of the Pride of Arizona and assistant director of all the UA bands.

    At that time, the band was moved to Bear Down Field, which Rees said is the only other area on campus large enough to fit the band.

    Although Bear Down Field was built originally as an area for the band to rehearse, the Student Recreation Center has been using the field for years to play intramural sports, Rees said.

    “”The relationship between the band and the athletic department has been outstanding, and I completely support their need to expand,”” Rees said. “”The only question is: Where will we go during construction?””

    Melissa Dryden, program coordinator for Facilities Design and Construction, said the band’s situation was taken into consideration during construction planning.

    “”Once the project is complete, there should still be space left, about the size of a football field left for the band to practice on,”” Dryden said.

    Steven Aleck, a music senior who plays baritone saxophone, said the relocation will not affect the band’s performance.

    “”We’re not a good band because we have a field; we’re a good band because we work really hard,”” Aleck said. “”No matter where they put us, we’re going to be a good band.””

    Most of the construction should be taking place between football seasons, which may alleviate the urgency of the band’s situation, Dryden said.

    There are about 255 students in the Pride of Arizona band, which is offered as an academic course, Rees said.

    The number of students in the band has remained nearly the same for the past 50 years.

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