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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    UA may get three new dorms

    With the projected increase in the UA’s enrollment, the university may have to build as many as three new residence halls on campus in the next four years, a Residence Life official said.

    The buildings will mark the first appearance of a new dorm on campus since Villa del Puente opened in fall 2003, said Patrick Call, associate director of Residence Life.

    The new halls are being built to accommodate the UA’s increasing enrollment, Call said.

    “”The growth in enrollment determines the need for new dorms,”” Call said.

    The UA boasted its largest freshman class ever this year with 6,009 students, according to the Office of the Registrar.

    Despite the surge in freshmen, overall UA enrollment was down to 36,805, from 37,036 last year.

    However, enrollment at the UA is still expected to grow by nearly 1,000 students in the next four years.

    Residence Life officials are in the process of deciding where and when construction on the new halls will begin, Call said.

    “”We’ve had a proposal to build a building with 600 to 800 beds, which could be up to three new halls,”” Call said. “”It will take years to build.””

    Call said there are several aspects to the plan not yet discussed, such as funding, placement and architectural design.

    “”There is still a lot of ground to cover,”” said Call. “”I’m excited to see where it gets us.””

    President Robert Shelton said he is optimistic and excited about the new halls on campus.

    “”I view some residential time on campus as essential to academic life,”” Shelton said.

    In addition to the new halls being constructed, older residence halls will undergo renovations, which were approved by the Arizona Board of Regents last week.

    There will be renovations to both Coronado and Cochise residence halls this summer. Work on Coronado will be completed by summer 2008.

    Renovations include improved safety features, such as a fire sprinkler system replacement in Cochise Hall.

    In summer 2009, La Paz and Apache-Santa Cruz residence halls will also undergo renovations, according to Joel Valdez, senior vice president of business affairs.

    The total cost of the renovations will be $21.8 million, which will be funded by System Revenue bonds and later paid with Residence Life Auxiliary Enterprise proceeds, according to regents’ reports.

    Shelton said the upgrades to the residence halls are essential to campus living. The aging halls and changes to the style of residential living have made such changes necessary, Shelton said.

    While Shelton said he understands that newer and renovated halls may attract students to attend the UA, he does not believe they are the selling point that students are looking for.

    “”UA students aren’t shallow enough to make such decisions based on how the dorm rooms look,”” Shelton said.

    Even if students are looking for newer dorms in order to make a decision on a school, they still may have a few years to go.

    “”This is the beginning of a very long conversation process,”” Call said. “”We just basically initiated conversation about the project. There’s still a lot of conversation to get us to the point when we begin to build, let alone when it would be done. We’re at the very beginning.””

    – Matt Andazola contributed to this story.

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