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Park union construction falls behind

By James Kelley
Arizona Summer Wildcat
Wednesday July 10, 2002

In 1999, work began on the Student Union Memorial Center and the initial proposal for renovation and expansion of the Park Student Union was approved. Now, three years later, both projects are supposed to have been completed. While the Student Union Memorial Center project is nearing completion, work still hasn‚t begun on the Park Union.

That project has been delayed four times and the projected completion date has been changed from June 2002 to May 2003 and now to Fall 2003.

„All the bids were too high, they are now going to look at other options,š said Melissa Dryden, public information coordinator for Facilities Design and Construction. „Construction has been delayed until at least the fall.š

In November 1999, the Arizona Board of Regents approved the initial proposal for the project and in November 2000, the regents approved the structural plans, setting the original start date for construction in April 2001. The first delays again had to do with finances.

„We had two or three estimates and they were all too high, so we went through and redesigned the project,š said Dan Adams, director of Arizona Student Unions.

The project was bonded at $3.3 million with the rest of the funding coming from the regular Union‚s budget. Cuts have scaled back the funding from about $4.7 million to $4 million to its current allotment of $3.4 million.

Some even wonder if the Park Student Union is worth all the trouble because it serves mostly those from the Arizona-Sonora and Coronado Residence Halls.

„To be honest, I have been here for quite some time and have never been by there because I mainly go to the main Student Union,š said Haley Wright, a studio arts senior.

A Residence Life office, a gaming room and more retail and food court space highlight the Park Union plans which are supposed to take about a year, though builders have said the timetable is tight.

„We are still very optimistic construction will start soon, overall everyone is still committed,š Adams said. „It is not a huge project and we want to better serve the freshmen in the area and with the graduate housing under construction nearby the area is growing,š he said.

The project will expand the building into the area currently occupied by a service vehicles parking lot, creating a courtyard between the new portions of the building, which will house Arizona Student Media and more bookstore space.

In addition to the Park Student Union, the Euclid Housing project was also delayed. The one-year project, which was supposed to start last month but was delayed until this week, will provide graduate student housing, replacing the old Christopher City Complex.

„It was primarily an issue of getting financing straightened out, so I guess you could say it was just a case of finishing up paper work,š said Jim Van Arsdel, director of Residence Life. „It is much more time intrusive than regular UA buildings, I don‚t even know how many papers there are,š he said.

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