The Wildcat Opinions Board
This year 5, 526 freshmen enrolled at the UA, making this class slightly larger than last year's and the largest one ever. Given the Pima Residence Hall fiasco and the marred face of our campus, it would seem that the Administration is incapable of handling the influx of students. At present this may appear to be the case, but in the long term, the university is doing all that it can reasonably be expected to do - and it is doing pretty well.
Certainly Pima Hall should have been finished in time to accomodate students who should not have been deprived of campus aculturation in the first weeks of school. Students should not be forced to live in such dilapidated housing as Sky View apartments. However, Pima Hall is complete, and more dorms will follow. In the next few years, a 700-bed dorm and apartment style housing are slated to be built on campus. Future freshman classes should not be victims of a housing crunch.
And granted, the multiple construction projects are noisy, inconvenient and ugly. Indeed, are we more disturbed by the inconvenience of an enormous hole in the ground or the eyesore that is the Student Union demolition? Nevertheless, the construction will end and freshmen will have much needed class space and advising space. Not only does this benefit future feshman, but the freeing up of class room space will benefit all students - just ask displaced math students in need of tutoring.
What about parking? On the one hand, the limited amount of parking spaces on this campus is not a new issue; a large freshman class is not the most pressing of UA Parking and Transportation's problems. On the other hand. the UA is an urban campus in a sprawling city, and many freshman arrive on campus with vehicles. However, the Tyndall garage is now partially open, and two more parking complexes are scheduled to be built within the next five years.
Another issue that can be raised is the timing of all this construction. Doesn't the Administration have enrollment projections? Couldn't this have been planned for earlier and done in stages? Yes and no. Construction takes time, and in order to avoid year after year of housing, parking and class room space crunches, doing all the construction at one shot is the most prudent course of action.
To current campus dwellers and visitors, all the construction seems ill-planned - almost a case of too little too late. However, there is only so much one administration can do, and this administration is close to, if not above, that threshold. Despite the fits and quirks that come with large numbers of students and the construction, the UA is being careful to take good care of all its students be they current freshmen or future seniors.