Regents approve IBM site for AIU

By Charles Ratliff
Arizona Daily Wildcat
January 16, 1996

The Arizona Board of Regents voted Friday to temporarily locate the new Arizona International University at the IBM facility southeast of Tucson.

The regents voted 6-2 in favor of siting the new campus at the UA's Science and Technology Park, above two other recommendations for possible locations.

University President Manuel Pacheco told the board the facility at South Rita Road and Interstate 10 clearly meets the needs and criteria above the two other recommendations. Potential locations reviewed included joining with Pima Community College at its 2202 W. Anklam Road location or to renovate the Regina Cleri Seminary at 8800 E. 22nd Street.

The UA found that it would cost $1.3 million to occupy space for three years at the IBM facility, the same as leasing the PCC location. Renovations would be needed at South Rita, however. In order to occupy Regina Cleri, the UA found it would cost $2.8 m illion, and the seminary would need a near total renovation.

'I am more comfortable (with the IBM facility) than I have been in searching for an interim site,' Pacheco said.

Pacheco said the state's first public four-year liberal arts university will benefit from existing space in the 11-building, 1,300-acre facility. The state's fourth university should help meet the demands of an expected 55,000 student enrollment growth by 2015.

He said the facility can take advantage of space for a library and that already existing conference rooms are wired for technology the UA would like to see in its own classrooms.

'The recommended site is best because we would be growing into existing space,' he said.

Regent Hank Amos said the recommendation and decision the board made is true to the purpose of acquiring the IBM facility.

'I always knew where the temporary site should be located,' Amos said. 'When the board was originally given the opportunity to purchase this facility, we did it for an educational purpose.'

The board of regents acquired the facility in 1994 for the UA. Last semester, the UA signed an agreement with Microsoft to lease some space in the technology park to the Seattle-based software company.

Regent Art Chapa said it had been his hope to establish a link with the business community. Microsoft will become the eighth corporation leasing space at the facility when it moves in this week. Bruce Wright, UA's director of economic development, said th e company will build up to 125 employees by mid-February.

Regents Judy Gignac and Mark Davis voted against the motion.

The school is set to open its doors in the fall of 1996 with 100 to 150 students.

The regents next meeting is scheduled for Feb. 15 and 16 at Arizona State University West, at West Thunderbird Road and North Forty-Seventh Avenue.