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Park Student Union awaits approval of construction


Ian C. Mayer
Arizona Daily Wildcat

The Park Student Union, pictured above, is located on North Park Avenue and East Fourth Street. The UA is asking the Arizona Board of Regents tomorrow for permission to renovate the building.

By Ty Young
Arizona Daily Wildcat,
November 17, 1999
Talk about this story

To keep pace with the rising student population and campus building renovations, UA officials will be presenting a proposal to the Arizona Board of Regents tomorrow that will call for structural changes to the Park Student Union.

"We're going to the Board of Regents to propose a very modest but strategic reworking of the Park Student Union structure," said Melissa Vito, University of Arizona dean of students. "The changes are designed to better serve the needs of the students in the area."

David Duffy, director of campus and facilities planning, said the proposed renovations will bring the Park Student Union up to American Disabilities Act standards while adding a new space for the building.

"First of all there will be renovation work done on the interior of the building to improve accessibility for the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards," he said. "Right now, somebody in a wheelchair would need to enter in the back loading dock and come in through the kitchen."

"There are also some building maintenance issues that need to be resolved, most notably the addition to the west wing."

According to the project description on tomorrow's Board of Regents agenda, 13,440 square feet will be added to the Park Student Union, most notably the western portion of the building.

This area is expected to house copy services, the Park Student Union bookstore and other leased areas.

The project is estimate to cost $4.74 million. However, $1.44 million in funds are available in the auxiliary unit balance, which has been collected from various entities such as the Memorial Student Union, Residence Life and Arizona Student Media.

Vito said school funds will not be used for the proposed project, adding that the lease agreements from the space will pay for everything.

"It will be fully supported by the units there," she said. "The cost of the project will be fully serviced by the debt service of the tenants."

According to the project description plans, justification for renovation and construction stems from the student population growth, especially in the area.

The proposal stated that "the 1965 building does not adequately serve the dining and support needs of the growing community, currently comprised of four residence life facilities (roughly 1,750 beds)."

Vito said the southwestern section of campus was in need of improvement, especially with the proposed dormitory to be built north of Coronado Residence Hall. The new dormitory is expected to be finished by the summer of 2001.

"We knew that we were going to add another residence hall in the area," she said. "(It's a) great location, but not designed to interact well with the growing student population."

The proposal also includes measures to consolidate the University of Arizona Student Media services, including the Arizona Daily Wildcat and KAMP Student Radio.

According to the proposal, the new additions "would also provide a space better suited for an evolving ASM program (e.g., Wildcat Newspaper and KAMP Radio) by locating the unit near the Journalism Department, which is across the street in the basement of the Franklin Building."

Vito said Arizona Student Media will play an important role in the Park Student Union functions.

"We look at the student media as being the anchor point there," she said. "It (Park Student Union) will be a showcase for Arizona Student Media."

If the project proposal is passed by the Board of Regents, construction may begin in a year. UA officials hope to start the planning stage, which cannot begin without proper approval, as early as March.

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