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Friday November 17, 2000

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ABOR will vote on new Park Student Union plans today

By Shana Heiser

Arizona Daily Wildcat

Facilities projects need resource committee's OK before next steps

The structural plans for the renovation of Park Student Union will go before the Arizona Board of Regents at their meeting today.

The chances of the regents approving the second phase of three necessary approvals are good, said May Carr, senior architect at UA Facilities Design and Construction.

"We always hope there is not going to be much discussion and they're going to be approved," Carr said.

The project initiation was approved in November 1999 and will cost $4.7 million to complete, funded through certificates of participation - bonds - and available auxiliary unit balances.

If today's proposal is approved, the next will be project approval review in January, with construction beginning in April.

Occupancy of the new union is projected for June 2002.

"We need their (regents') permission to proceed," said Joel Valdez, senior vice president for business affairs. "The architects will finish up drawings, we sell bonds, we construct and build."

The union's major objectives are to extend the facility's useful life expectancy and renew the facility to meet changing campus life needs, as Carr wrote in ABOR's executive summary.

The union will provide 150 units of housing on the west side of the new garage, Valdez said. A new parking garage will provide space for 1,700 vehicles.

"The new garage is opening pretty quick, December first," he said.

Other goals are to address long standing accessibility deficiencies and life safety issues, plus enhancing the facility's role as a student community center.

To further update the current buildings, the new Park Student Unions will enhance the market position for the UofA Bookstore and Student Union food service operations and provide a space better suited for the evolving Arizona Student Media program, Carr wrote.

The Arizona Daily Wildcat and KAMP radio will be relocating to Park Student Union once the renovation is complete.

Other items on the agenda for the ABOR resources committee are conceptual approval for the Highland District Site Preparation, and approval for purchase of the Tucson Electric Power Property at 220 W. Sixth St., and project approval for the Agricultural Research Complex: Project Approval.

"Campus and facilities planning puts together all these proposals and sends them to the regents," said Gilbert Davidson, assistant project manager for the new student union and bookstore.

The proposals going before the resource committee today must be approved because of their high cost.

"We have to take all the capital projects to the board of regents for approval," Carr said. "They've been defined as projects that are over a million dollars."

The agenda also includes a first reading of a proposal to revise the Bereavement Leave and Sick Leave policies, because there were discrepancies between the three state universities' policies, said Jack Roberts, former Staff Advisory Council president.

"We're trying to find some alignment and some similarity," Roberts said.

The proposed policy revisions would permit employees to receive paid leave in the death of an in-law, either brother, sister, son- or daughter-in-law, in addition to the already specified relatives.

Revisions would also allow employees to use accrued sick leave in the death of a family member not covered by the policy.

The Tri-University Classified Staff Executive Board is optimistic that the proposal will pass.

"We have gained support of the three state university presidents and the human resources directors are very supportive of the change," he said. "They concur with the policy provision being proposed."

The regents met today to discuss community college issues. Today's meeting begins at 7:30 a.m. with an executive session at Marriott University Park hotel.