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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Budget to bring more UA building

    Editor’s note: Following an internal investigation, the Daily Wildcat is unable to ascertain the existence of students quoted in at least four stories written by reporter Jim Myers. These stories include: “”UA programs rank again,”” on Sept. 26; “”Courting the college vote,”” on Sept. 22; “”Drugs in the Water?”” on Aug. 27; and “”Budget to bring more UA building,”” on Aug. 27. The Daily Wildcat regrets this betrayal of trust. The reporter has been terminated.

    When the Arizona Board of Regents released the UA’s budget for the 2009 fiscal year, it spelled good news for the Facilities Design and Construction Department, but bad news for many other departments and colleges.

    The regents voted to give the UA $170 million out of the $1 billion that the Arizona legislature approved for building renewal and construction in a separate plan called the Stimulus Plan for Economic and Educational Development, or SPEED. Northern Arizona University also received $170 million, and Arizona State University received $190 million.

    According to UA budget director Jim Florian, $90 million of the $170 million granted for building renewal and construction will go to new additions on the environment and natural resources building, which will add onto the east side of the existing Dennis DeConcini Environment and Natural Resources building.

    The addition is projected to be 150,000 square feet and will house several UA departments and programs, including the Institute for the Study of Planet Earth, and Arid Lands Studies. It is currently in the second phase of its design and planning, and no date for construction has been set.

    “”The design is still in progress, but we’re shooting for at least a silver LEED rating,”” Florian said.

    The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design, or LEED, Green Building Rating System is the most widely used sustainability rating system for buildings. Gold is the highest rating, and the UA has recently pledged to have all new buildings achieve a silver rating at the minimum.

    $12 million will go to a combination of construction and renovation at Centennial Hall, including adding new restrooms and improving the building lighting, among other things.

    “”I think it’s already a great building, but I’m glad they’re spending money to improve it,”” said theatre arts sophomore Suzanne Parker.

    The remaining $68 million will go to renewal and deferred maintenance across campus, which includes repairing mechanical systems, re-roofing, heating, ventilation and air conditioning repair, improvements to fire safety and other safety-related issues.

    “”There’s no specific safety concern in any of the buildings, but there are a lot of things that could use some repair,”” said Florian. “”There are several things that need to be done that we just haven’t had the money to do until now.””

    Also receiving funding from the SPEED plan is the Phoenix Biomedical Campus, of which 71 percent is owned by the UA. The improvements will benefit the UA’s College of Medicine in Phoenix, which partners with ASU.

    In addition to the SPEED plan, the Arizona legislature also voted on other university budget initiatives, which resulted in budget cuts that will apply to other UA departments and colleges.

    The cuts will vary according to the specific department, and Florian said the exact impacts of the cuts within each department will be reported in October or November. Town hall meetings to report the details to the public are also tentatively scheduled for that time.

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