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AZ Board of Regents approves union funding

By Anthony C. Braza
Arizona Daily Wildcat
April 16, 1999
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Arizona Daily Wildcat

"There is a settlement, and part of the settlement is to not discuss the settlement." Judy Gignac Regent President

TEMPE - The UA cleared the last major hurdle for construction of a new Student Union yesterday when the Arizona Board of Regents approved the sale of $59 million in bonds.

The sale will include an assortment of variable-rate bonds and fixed-rate mini-bonds, which have never been used before at the school.

Joel Valdez, University of Arizona vice president of business affairs, said the timing of the bond sale could benefit the school, as current bond rates are around 3 percent.

"Over the term, we could save $10 million to $15 million," Valdez said. "This can be used to pay it off faster."

The UA had to investigate alternate methods of payment after the student body voted against a $40 per semester student fee during a Nov. 1997 referendum.

The university obtained Regents' approval in February for the construction of the new union, which will include demolition of parts of the current building.

Valdez said the mini-bonds, which come in $1,000 denominations instead of the traditional $5,000, will be offered to faculty, staff and alumni.

"It allows more people to participate," Valdez said. "We want to give members of the UA community, to borrow a phrase, 'a piece of the rock.'"

The flexible-rate bonds give the UA the opportunity to purchase a cap on the interest rate, which would limit their costs.

Also discussed at the meeting:

UA officials said they are investigating the possible purchase of the 138-unit Casa Veliz Apartments for $5.1 million.

UA Residence Life has recommended that the Regents purchase the property so the university can convert the building into a dorm.

The complex is located between East Drachman Street to the north, East Adams Street to the south, North Fremont Avenue to the west and North Mountain Avenue to the east.

The UA is also considering purchasing Corleone Residence Hall, a 47-unit complex across from Casa Veliz that the university leases.

Valdez said the combination of the two, if the school determines they are a sound investment, could replace Christopher City family housing.

The Regents approved changing the name of UA Sierra Vista to The University of Arizona South.

UA President Peter Likins said the name change was needed to reflect the expanding area that the school serves.

"The name it bears is no longer an accurate description of what is there," Likins said. "It seemed a reasonable accommodation."

Settlement of a 1996 lawsuit against the UA and the Arizona Board of Regents on behalf of Anna Louise Knochel was discussed in a closed executive session.

Knochel was a camp counselor in a UA-sponsored 4-H Club when she was mauled by a bear on Mt. Lemmon three years ago. She had extensive damage to her right leg, as well as her scalp.

Regent President Judy Gignac said after the meeting that the state was "on the verge" of completing the settlement, which is sealed.

"There is a settlement, and part of the settlement is to not discuss the settlement," Gignac said.