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ILC, student union projects heighten complaints about UA construction

By Ty Young
Arizona Daily Wildcat,
October 4, 1999

While simultaneous projects at the UA have caused confusion among students and faculty, officials said yesterday they are currently attempting to diffuse the problems caused by the construction.

Although the Integrated Learning Center and Memorial Student Union projects have attracted most of the attention, other construction activity has increased the level of confusion on campus.

According to University of Arizona spokeswoman Sharon Kha, the major projects were not originally planned to coincide.

"The intent was to space them out," she said. "We thought the construction of the ILC would be finished before the student union."

Renovations to the Psychology building and Yavapai Residence Hall are also causing disruptions around campus.

The Steward Observatory is also undergoing major renovations, which will include the addition of an entire story.

On East First Street, the north side of the road is being uprooted in order to install telecommunication lines which will service the new UAPD station. It is also under construction.

In addition to the current projects, major improvements to the Main Library and the McKale Athletic Performance Center are expected to begin early next semester.

Kha said due to initial problems with the planning of the ILC project, construction started later than planned. She said the student union construction project began sooner than planned.

Because of the changes in schedules, both projects commenced at the same time.

"The ILC ran into some problems and the (contractor) bids were quite high. At the same time, with the design-build strategy of the student union, they started building way before we thought possible," she said.

Kha said the university is attempting to initiate changes that would further help students and faculty while the construction continues.

"We need to keep listening to the complaints from students and work from there," Kha said.

In a response to the traffic problems, especially those faced by bicycle riders, Kha said. "We're considering putting a west-bound bike lane on (East) Second Street and a curb-cut just west of (North) Mountain (Avenue)."

While students have complained about how the construction has affected their lives, some believe that the projects should occur simultaneously.

"I think it's better to do it all now. It's better to get it out of the way," said Ross Fip-pinger, a marketing freshman.

Elly Allen, a prospective student visiting friends at the UA, said she understands why the university has implemented multiple construction projects at the same time.

"It (construction) is for the progress of the school. The quicker the better," she said. "It doesn't bother me right now."

Others said that the university should focus on one project at a time.

"Maybe they shouldn't do it all at once. It would be less confusing for students," said Garrett Orton, a bio-chemistry freshman.

Emily Shack, a retail consumer science sophomore, agreed.

"I don't think they should have torn up the entire campus all at one time. It doesn't make the campus look very pretty," she said.

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