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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Old Main revamp gets regents’ OK

    The Arizona Board of Regents approved a new budget for the renovation of Old Main on Friday, expanding the cost of the project by 40 percent.

    Designed to create a new home for the Office of Admissions and Orientation Services, construction on the bottom floor of the building will now cost an estimated $4.5 million, up from the originally projected $3.25 million.

    (Old Main) is the essence of Arizona’s first university.

    – Robert Shelton,
    UA president

    Part of the renovation project – restoring the exterior of the building and improving handicap accessibility – has already been completed.

    Joel Valdez, vice president of business affairs for the UA, said one of the changes would add better working elevators to the upper floor.

    Workers will be on the 15,882-square-foot first floor for the next few months, trying to “”gut it all out,”” Valdez said.

    Once the old architecture is stripped away, new facilities for the Office of Admissions will be built in its place.

    The UA reported an increase in the cost of construction and some unforeseen structural difficulties in the building as reasons for the expanded budget, according to regents’ reports.

    President Robert Shelton said the cost of construction materials has gone up recently because of an explosion of growth and development in China, among other factors.

    While he said he is concerned about the cost of the project, Shelton said he supports moving the Office of Admissions to Old Main because of the rich history it has with the UA.

    “”It is the essence of Arizona’s first university,”” Shelton said.

    Shelton said he thinks moving admissions to its new location is a great way to immerse beginning and prospective students in the traditions of their school.

    Old Main opened its doors in October 1891 as the only building at the UA. Last year, its bottom floor was host to student groups that have since relocated to the Robert L. Nugent building, a previous home to the Office of Admissions.

    The Native American Student Affairs and Asian Pacific American Student Affairs are two of the groups that have been relocated to new facilities from what Valdez describes as their “”cubbies”” in Old Main.

    The groups changed locations at the beginning of the semester, but there are still some issues that must be dealt with before they are completely satisfied with the transition.

    For one, Shelton said some in the APASA organization had complained that their new office did not provide satisfactory privacy.

    Money is now being spent to make those renovations in the Nugent building, in an effort to improve the “”day-in, day-out comfort level”” of the place, Shelton said.

    Money for the Old Main renovation will come from three sources: a previously approved building renewal fund that provides $2 million, $1.95 million from the state and an additional $613,000 from revenue from land sales.

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