The Student News Site of University of Arizona

The Daily Wildcat

103° Tucson, AZ

The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Rec expansion utility tunnel incites feud

    TEMPE – The Arizona Board of Regents approved a student-funded $22.5 million Student Recreation Center expansion Friday, but how much of the money will go into the building is unclear.

    At issue is a $2.03 million project to overhaul the utility infrastructure of the area. The project is listed as part of the larger expansion in regents’ notes.

    But Associated Students of the University of Arizona President Erin Hertzog said she is concerned about the new infrastructure because it will also be used by other university buildings.

    “”A lot of students are going to be upset that their money’s not going where they thought it was.””– Erin Hertzog, ASUA president

    A campus-wide vote in November 2005 gave consent for the fee with the understanding that the money it raised would be used only to fund the Rec Center, she said.

    A student fee should not be used to create that new infrastructure, she said.

    “”A lot of students are going to be upset that their money’s not going where they thought it was,”” Hertzog said.

    The $2.03 million figure is being reviewed to see how much of it students will have to pay, said Juliette Moore, director of campus recreation.The current utility system is too small to support an expanded Rec Center, so larger tunnels will be needed to support any growth, Moore said.

    Hertzog and Moore have been working with the Office of Business Affairs and the Budget Office to obtain university funding for part of the $2.03 million, and they should know how much the Rec Center will get by the end of the week, Moore said.

    Although the UA will not foot the bill for the entire cost of the utility system, it will be paying for part of it, said Joel Valdez, UA senior vice president of business affairs.

    When the UA expands its campus south of East Sixth Street, the new infrastructure could be used for those new facilities, Valdez said.

    Valdez said he is frustrated with efforts to get more university money to go toward construction projects because the UA works to get them approved, only to be asked afterward for more money.

    The university is already losing some funds to the expansion, Valdez said, noting the paid parking lot that would be demolished to make room for the larger center.

    “”It’s never enough,”” Valdez said. “”Everybody tries to pass on expenses to everybody else.””

    If the UA funds enough of the utility work, any money left over from the project can be used to fund direct construction of the Rec Center, perhaps toward reinstating a multipurpose activity court that was cut from the plan due to budget constraints, Moore said.

    Moore said she hopes the university will put $1.5 million toward the project, but that right now an exact figure isn’t important.

    “”We’re pushing for any number at this point,”” she said.

    Moore said student money, in the form of a $25 fee to start in 2011, will pay off bonds used to fund the expansion. The current Rec Center fee is being used to pay for the building’s original construction and will finish the same year.

    Hertzog said ASUA might hold another referendum on the Rec Center fee if the university doesn’t contribute enough money toward the project.

    “”I hope it doesn’t get down to that,”” she said.

    Moore said she is confident the UA will make the best decision on what to do with students’ money, and she doesn’t see any conflict with the university at the core of the issue.

    “”We’re all saying the same thing,”” Moore said.

    President Robert Shelton said it is important to remember that a lot of community, non-student-fee money goes into projects students benefit from.

    “”This is a community,”” Shelton said. “”We don’t want to go parsing things out into fine divisions.””

    More to Discover
    Activate Search