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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    “UA, city unite for museum complex”

    UA, city unite for museum complex

    Yesterday, the Arizona Board of Regents approved an Intergovernmental Agreement between the City of Tucson and the UA to collaborate on the design, construction and operation of a combined Flandrau Science Center and Arizona State Museum in the Rio Nuevo district Downtown.

    The $130 million project will be entirely funded by the Rio Nuevo District Tax Increment Financing. The UA will operate the project.

    Designing of the facility is expected to begin in September, and the building is scheduled to open for Arizona’s centennial in 2012.

    “”This item (project) is certainly the most exciting development in my first year in working with the folks in Tucson,”” said UA President Robert Shelton during the ABOR meeting.

    Once completed, the facility is expected to house an astronomical observatory, a theater, a butterfly vivarium, a digital planetarium, a mineral museum and Native American collections from the Arizona State Museum, according to a project summary.

    “”(It’s a) really unique opportunity to be able to talk about the region from the past all the way through to what we envision for the future,”” said Alexis Faust, executive director for the Flandrau Science Center.

    The Flandrau Science Center, 1601 E. University Blvd., will be relocating entirely to Downtown, while the museum will keep its current and will move only certain collections to the new facility.

    “”It’s a real chance for us to really fulfill our mission … as the land grant university so we can give back to the public all those things we have in compiled in the store rooms,”” said Steven Harvath, the museum’s director of development and marketing.

    In addition to the shared building, the site will be home to a replica of a Franciscan mission that existed from the 18th to 19th centuries, said Beth Grindell, the museum’s associate director.

    Construction is scheduled to begin on the mission in November, she said.

    Transportation plans include a light rail system that will run between the UA area and the new facility and will link the UA to the new Downtown area, according to project plans.

    Officials from the museum, the UA and the city were enthusiastic about the new partnership and the opportunity to collaborate on the undertaking.

    “”It’s a reflection of the university’s mission of education, of outreach to the community and, in part, President Shelton’s vision that our local community and that Arizona are beneficiaries of the work in the university,”” said Johnny Cruz, UA director of media relations.

    The newly approved agreement between the city and the UA is an exciting partnership that will revitalize Downtown, said Mayor Bob Walkup.

    “”It’s a family affair,”” he said.

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