By James Kelley
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Monday August 26, 2002
Reopening of UA Mall means completion of union on the horizon
For the first time in her college career, Vronique Bredas experienced the UA Mall she saw in her viewbook, after student union construction workers moved a fence off the Mall last week.
This fall will be the first time students can use the whole Mall after two years of it being partially closed off for one construction project after another.
Bredas, a nutrition junior, has attended UA during the last year of construction of the Integrated Learning Center and last school year when the section of the Mall directly east of Old Main, was fenced off for construction of the Student Union Memorial Center.
Fences went up in the middle of the Mall when construction of the Integrated Learning Center began in Aug. 1999. Right after the ILC fence was removed in July 2001, a new fence was erected for student union construction.
"When I decided to come to the UA I saw the Mall and loved the campus," Bredas said. "I think the Mall is a big part of the UA," she said.
Grass extends from Old Main to Campbell Avenue after the May removal of a temporary parking lot for construction workers that was on the east end of the Mall near McKale Memorial Center.
"The Mall's always been kind of a landmark. We're glad to have it back," said Bill Shiba, associate director of Arizona Student Unions. "It feels great to have the completion date so near. We are on the home stretch and rounding third," he said.
Controversy erupted in Feb. 2001, when student union construction officials said they needed to fence off the Mall east of Old Main to store materials.
The senate of the student government, Associated Students of the University of Arizona, passed the UA Mall Preservation Resolution, in a student meeting with ASUA, students, President Peter Likins and builders.
While he was unavailable for comment, Dan Adams, Arizona Student Unions director told the Arizona Summer Wildcat in late July, "We are looking forward to the completion of Phase II (the final round of construction). We know how the campus community has suffered," about the progress of student union construction.
A couple days after the ASUA senate meeting, Likins approved the fence around the student union with a few accommodations for students such as, the fence will be no closer than 200 feet from the west edge of the road that surrounds the cactus garden. The original proposal was for 160 feet.
"I think students will first notice that the Mall is back and that they can see the shape of the union," said Nick Adamakis, Arizona Student Unions marketing specialist.
During the summer, U-Mart moved to the third floor of the Student Union. It is scheduled to move today into about the same spot as the post office.
The post office moved into the newly opened section of the food court, which contains 500 more seats than it had in the spring.
Fantastic Sams became the second of the four original retailers in the Student Union Memorial Center that were not part of or affiliated with UA, to close after Union Bank shut its doors in May.
Union planners hope to replace Fantastic Sams with another hair salon and Union Bank with another financial institution, said Bill Shiba, associate director for business affairs of the Arizona Student Unions.
An exact date for the opening of Chick-fil-A and the other restaurant ÷ a student union-run eatery that will possibly sell sandwiches ÷ are not set but will be coming "soon" and Fast Copy is scheduled to move near the post office on Sept 7, Shiba said.
But fences may be returning to parts of the Mall before the semester ends.
The next two nearby construction projects that are scheduled ÷ the Meinel Optical Science Building expansion and construction of the Alumni Plaza in front of the Administration building ÷ are both slotted to begin later this fall.