Rebuild now

The Memorial Student Union is in desperate need of remodeling, but instead of taking care of its time-worn center of campus, the university has unfortunately put other construction projects higher on its priority list.

The saying "If it's broke, then fix it" comes to mind when thinking of the Memorial Student Union. The Union is plagued by safety violations, racking up 104 since March, but the university has not yet decided whether to remodel or rebuild.

The decision is expected to come in September, and we hope that the university acts fast to refurbish the student center and give it the treatment it deserves.

As the social center of campus, the Union serves many purposes. It's a meeting place where students, staff and faculty eat, drink and be merry. It's usually one of the first places parents and visitors see when they come to the UA. It's the base for freshman orientation and home of end-of-the-year banquets.

The Union should represent the best the campus has to offer, and right now, to become that place, the Union needs a makeover.

Unfortunately, the university has put other projects ahead of Union reconstruction: a $22.5 million renovation of the Arizona Cancer Center, a new $27.5 million Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering Building, and an $11 million Environmental and Natural Resources Building. These projects are important, but at least the university could consider its campus centerpiece just as important.

The worst example of the university's disordered priorities, however, is evident in plans for the $20 million Integrated Instructional Facility. Funds for the IIF building have already been allocated for the 1997 fiscal year, but $25 million for the Union has been held until 1998. The IIF is supposed to serve 4,500 freshman; the Union, nearly 45,000 students and employees.

The UA is spending too much time and budgeting too much money on pet projects where ground hasn't even broken.

University officials, open your eyes and start worrying about the MSU, not the AIC or the IIF. Worry about the Union, the student center, the building that's falling apart before your eyes. Make a decision to rebuild, and start the project now before portions of the building are deemed unusable.

Staff Editoral