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Wednesday November 22, 2000

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Women's studies will construct new plaza to honor heroines

By Rebecca Missel

Arizona Daily Wildcat

Site will raise $1 million for department, committee member says

While other campus construction projects plan to renovate aging buildings or incorporate more freshmen, the women's studies department's new project is meant to honor women everywhere.

The plaza, yet to be named, will be built between Centennial Hall and the Arizona State Museum on the south side of East University Boulevard. It is expected to be completed in five years.

"The idea is to have an ongoing celebration of historic and contemporary women who have touched our lives," said Margy McGonagill, a women's path of honor leadership committee member. "We're honoring the women in everyone's lives who've gone beyond the ordinary in accomplishments, generosity and courage."

The committee of women consists of University of Arizona alumnae, students, staff and community members.

Through private donations and the purchase of architectural objects on the site, McGonagill said they hope to raise $1 million for research stipends and scholarships.

Important Arizona women such as Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor will be included in the site, but McGonagill said people can also pay tribute to their mothers, aunts and grandmothers.

"Many women will never have museums built for them, but this is a way any of us could honor special people in our lives," she said. "It's a way to celebrate them in a permanent way."

The plaza will use columns, steps and walls to designate the three stages of a woman's life: youth, maturity and seniority.

"It's going to be classical, refined, tranquil and bold," said Pat Hnilo, women's studies program coordinator. "We want something to be a wonderful use of space that is pleasing for visitors."

Price tables for benches, trees, bricks and other donated objects has not yet been determined. However, Hnilo said that it will be affordable for anyone who wants to participate.

In the future, the plaza can be used for small class meetings, poetry readings and intermissions between shows at Centennial Hall, Hnilo said.

"I hope the student body will embrace it," she said. "It will enhance the campus and open up all these areas as an inviting place to relax."

Besides providing a special place on campus for personal reflection and mutual honor of women everywhere, the plaza is also an opportunity for the women's studies department to raise funds, she said.