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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    New buildings loom over new students

    The inside of the new family and consumer sciences
    The inside of the new family and consumer sciences

    It’s that time of year again when all you can hear is the sound of construction equipment breaking new ground for expansions, renovations and additional buildings.

    The UA is spending approximately $500 million on about 50 construction projects around campus, said Melissa Dryden, senior program coordinator, and many are already in progress.

    The Cherry Avenue Parking Garage, currently under construction, will provide 250 new parking spots for the fall, while the Architecture building and Law College are scheduled for completion by summer 2008, Dryden said.

    Recent renovations also include the first floor of Old Main, which will be complete by the end of this school year. It is being renovated so the new student admissions office can move in and be available for tours, Dryden said.

    The expansion of the Student Recreation Center is scheduled to begin this fall, said Richard Roberts, UA budget director.

    “”The demand (for the construction) is precipitated by students,”” said Joel Valdez, senior vice president for business affairs.

    Paid for almost entirely by the $25-per-semester student recreation center fee, the project is not expected to accrue debt, like other universities who undergo expansion, Valdez said.

    The price of a single project can range from hundreds of thousands of dollars to upwards of $70 million.

    Currently, the most expensive project is the construction of three new residence halls along Sixth Street, priced at $185 million, according to the UA Facilities Design and Construction Web site. The least expensive project, at $112,000, involves renovation to the main exterior entrance of the Martin Luther King Jr. Student Center, 1322 E. First St., and handicap accessiblity will be added.

    The high cost of construction is not likely to affect tuition costs, as the projects are paid for mostly by a combination of gift monies, research grants, and state and federal funds, Roberts said.

    The Arizona Board of Regents last month approved the project to build the new residence halls that will house nearly 1,200 students. The project is still in its design phase, but construction could begin as soon as this winter, as the Wildcat reported June 27.

    Some projects, such as one that will enhance safety structures at existing residence halls, and the UA Science Center redevelopment, are not scheduled for completion until 2011.

    Most of the projects, however, will be done in the next year or two, according to the Facilities Design and Construction Web site.

    “”We’re going to get pretty aggressive building new beds,”” Valdez said.

    Currently, existing residence halls are receiving only minor touch-ups, including electrical, mechanical and plumbing projects.

    “”I think (construction) shows the commitment to keep improving, and a lot of the projects involve modernizing to keep up with or surpass other universities,”” Dryden said.

    There are several new buildings scheduled for completion within this fiscal year, which began July 1 and will end June 20, 2008.

    The Norton School of Family and Consumer Sciences at McClelland Park should be finished by summer 2008, and the Helen S. Schaefer Poetry Center should be complete this fall, Dryden said.

    “”When someone puts up a construction fence, please don’t walk through it,”” Roberts added, with a chortle.

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