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Christopher City may be replaced by new complex for graduate students

By Ryan Gabrielson
Arizona Daily Wildcat,
January 21, 2000
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PHOENIX-The first step in relieving UA graduate student housing concerns may come today as the Arizona Board of Regents votes on a proposed on-campus facility that would replace the aging Christopher City complex.

ABOR plans to review and put to a vote the proposal for the Graduate Housing project at the second day of its meeting at Arizona State University West, in Phoenix.

This project plans for a new residential apartment complex at North Tyndall Avenue and East Fourth Street that would provide 325 beds. Once completed, the complex would replace the graduate housing at Christopher City, which is off campus at East Fort Lowell Road and North Columbus Boulevard.

Although it would ultimately be constructed to provide graduate housing, the facility would first serve to alleviate the residence hall crunch created by a large number of incoming freshmen.

"There's an urgency to get this done because of the freshmen," said University of Arizona President Peter Likins.

The UA also has two dorms in the planning stages that could potentially house up to 700 undergraduate students in the area of North Highland Avenue and East Sixth Street.

Cisco Aguilar, Associated Students president, said this project is urgent because of the deteriorating condition of Christopher City.

Aguilar described the condition of the complex as "horrible."

Six years ago, Campus Life created a task force to investigate the need for graduate student housing. Aguilar said its findings indicated that graduate students want to live on-campus.

If approved, the new complex would begin to house those graduate students who do not have children.

Married graduate students and graduate students with children would still be able to live at Christopher City.

"The question is, 'What do we do with those folks?'" Likins said. "They have property rights there that we're not going to step on."

The new complex may cost up to $25 million, which raised opposition in ABOR President Hank Amos.

"I just don't know which is the appropriate direction we should go," Amos said. "You can get more bang for your buck."

Amos suggests the purchase of an already existing unit - such as Casa Feliz - which would provide over 300 units, as opposed to the new complex which would only have 150.

In June, a UA plan to purchase Casa Feliz, 1201 E. Drachman St., was abandoned just prior to ABOR consideration.

In other business, ABOR will decide whether to approve of a UA contract with NASA worth more than $7.5 million for a three-year project.

The work would be done for NASA's Production of Resource on Mars In-Situ for Exploration project.

Likins said he doesn't foresee any trouble getting the contract's approval.

"This is pretty standard," Likins said. "The reason it needs the regents' approval is because it's such a large amount of money."

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