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By Greg Clark
Arizona Daily Wildcat
December 2, 1997

UA President's home gets makeover

The $49,000 used last summer to renovate the UA president's house was part of the cost of doing official university business, an Arizona Board of Regents member said yesterday.

"That house is used for a lot of functions that are not related to personal or family life, but are related to university life," said Regent Judy Gignac, who pushed for the renovations.

The $49,000 refurbishment, paid for by the University of Arizona Foundation, made news earlier this week when some donors took issue with the use of foundation dollars to foot the renovation bill.

The UA Foundation, the university's main fund-raising arm, owns the 4,500-square-foot house and guesthouse near East Broadway Boulevard and North Country Club Road and paid for the renovations through undesignated funds, or the 1 to 1.5 percent of UA donations not earmarked for a specific purpose, said Dana Wier, a foundation spokeswoman.

The refurbishment, done between mid-July and mid-September, included electrical work, new carpet and a $16,000 paint job, Wier said.

The foundation bought the house in 1991 for $470,000 before Manuel Pacheco took the UA's top post, Wier said.

UA spokeswoman Sharon Kha said the university president hosts two or three official functions each month attended by at least 50 guests.

Official events held at the president's house include dinners for regents, the UA Alumni Association board of directors, faculty retirees and the university cultural affairs board, Kha said.

The president also hosts dinners for scholarship recipients and outstanding high school students the university seeks to recruit, she added.

Board of Regents spokesman Tony Seese-Bieda said part of the president's job is to host university events at home.

"It is important that there be a sufficient residence that gives the CEO of the university a place to entertain and provide a setting to host social events that benefit the university," he said.

Gignac said she pushed for the renovations to be done at the presidential home after the Pachecos moved out in June, adding that the work had been needed for several years.

Gignac cited inadequate exterior lighting and electrical circuits that would overload if the ovens and air conditioning were used at the same time. She also said the carpet was more than 10 years old.

The former president's wife asked the university to hold off on the renovations because of the inconvenience and the possibility of negative publicity, Gignac said.

"Karen Pacheco said 'No, no, it stirs up too much negative publicity to be spending money on the president's home,'" Gignac said.

Kha said funding renovations of a president's house is a delicate issue.

"I think it has always been a problem, how to renovate the president's home," Kha said.

"Neither president wants to ask for changes, yet the house gets rundown because of all the traffic."

Gignac said making renovations between presidents was appropriate.

"You shouldn't have somebody new come in and move them into a house that needs upgrades," she said.

Kha added most universities either provide housing for their presidents or provide a housing allowance paid as part of a president's salary.

Arizona State University President Lattie Coor receives $46,993 per year instead of a university-provided house, said Nancy Neff, director of ASU's news bureau.

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