Gallagher tradition to continue in new home
As phase one of the Memorial Student Union construction begins, the long-standing UA tradition of movies on campus will find a new home away from the rubble of Gallagher Theatre.
The University Activities Board will show movies in the Social Sciences building beginning September 1 with a screening of Keanu Reeves' action film, "The Matrix."
"It's a good place to kick back for a couple of hours," said Bill Fannin, the University of Arizona's assistant coordinator for campus activities.
Fannin said the film committee will have to make some adjustments to be able to show movies in the new facility.
Because of the price of renting movies, Fannin said, the committee will only be able to show one feature a week, concentrating on large blockbuster pictures like "Notting Hill," "Blair Witch Project" and "The Mummy."
Free sneak previews and showings of older or non-mainstream films are still possibilities, Fannin said.
Moviegoers will be charged a $2.50 admission, the same price collected at Gallagher.
Fannin said he is unsure if the committee will be able to host midnight specials like in previous years because of security reasons.
In addition, the program has always been completely self-sufficient, but could possibly run into financial problems with the move, he said.
Because of a no food or drinks policy in the auditorium, concessions will not be sold, which will cut out a third of the program's funding.
But Fannin said he will do whatever it takes to keep this program alive on campus.
"If we have to, we will do car washes," Fannin said. "Whatever it takes to keep it going."
The Social Sciences building was chosen because of its central location, the good seating and its ability to hold the program's 35 mm camera, Fannin said. The building was also the program's home during the mid-1960s.
"Out of all of the buildings we looked at, Social Sciences was the best one," Fannin said.
UA students and faculty said they are glad that movies will still be shown on campus.
Megan Comstock, a sociology sophomore, said she enjoyed watching the movies at the Gallagher because they were convenient for her and other students who are stuck in the UA area.
"I'm on campus all day," Comstock said. "I might as well just stay for a movie."
Ana Perches, a Spanish and Chicano literature professor who has been with the UA for 11 years, said the movies-on-campus program is an essential part of the UA experience.
"I think films should be a part of students social awareness," Perches said.
The program is transient for the next three years until the completion of a new room on the first floor of the new Student Union.
The new facility will be a multipurpose auditorium half the size of the Gallagher Theatre, holding about 350 seats.
"I have my fingers crossed that it will be fully equipped and will be a wonderful place to show films," Fannin said.