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Thursday November 30, 2000

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Bookstore won't move until March

By Blake Smith

Arizona Daily Wildcat

Completion date now Dec. 22, move in March could cost bookstore about $40,000

Bookstore officials announced yesterday that they will move into their new facility during spring break, after learning that construction crews won't be finished with the building until Dec. 22.

"We will stay here in the main store until spring break, in March, to minimize the impact of the move on students and to take pressure off our staff," said Frank Farias, director of the U of A Bookstore.

Employees have already taken apart textbook shelving and removed counters in the basement of the existing facility in preparation for the move. The combination of rebuilding shelves and counters plus lost revenues could cause the bookstore to lose up to $40,000, Farias said.

Gilbert Davidson, assistant project manager for the new student union and bookstore, said it is unclear who will pay for the losses.

"It will either be the responsibility of Swinerton and Walberg or, possibly, the university," Davidson said. "The bookstore will be compensated either way."

Farias said the most important thing is that the bookstore recovers the money.

While bookstore officials work to get the existing bookstore ready for the spring semester, construction crews are scrambling to keep the project from falling further behind.

Doug Huie, Swinerton and Walberg Builders student union senior project manager, said the biggest problem is not completing the structure but getting the fire alarm system programmed.

Bob Bertolini, Swinerton and Walberg Builders senior project superintendent, agreed with Huie, adding that safety is the main priority.

"We want to make sure the life-safety issues are complete," Bertolini said.

Even though the bookstore won't move to their new facility until March, Associated Students of University of Arizona and student program offices will relocate to the new structure in early January.

"There is a blessing in disguise," Farias said. "We are actually going to be better off by making this decision."

He added that because the bookstore will be the only group changing locations during spring break, the move will be smoother and quicker.

The bookstore opening in March will coincide with the expected completion of the food services building - where Gallagher Theatre used to be located.

Problems with completing the underground loading dock, which will be a hub for food delivery, could cause a delay in the opening of the food section, Huie said.

Numerous rain delays and difficulties getting steel needed for building are derailing construction of the loading dock, he added.

Blake Smith can be reached at