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Cramped programs to move

KEVIN KLAUS/Arizona Daily Wildcat
James Jarred, of the Jordan Construction Company, moves dirt yesterday at the construction site on North Park Avenue at East Second Street that will be the future home of several academic programs, many of which are now located in the Franklin building.
By Brittany Manson
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Thursday December 5, 2002

The Marshall Foundation breaks ground on 5-story building due to open in '03

The dirt hole that sat at the corner of North Park Avenue and East Second Street surrounded by chain link fence for months is finally seeing some change.

With clearing and construction on the land beginning just weeks ago, the framework has begun for a new building that will incorporate street level retail space with several UA academic departments, leading the way to the demolition of the 42-year-old Franklin building.

The building was originally planned to be completed in the spring, but now will have a tentative completion date of December 2003, said Mercy Valencia, director of the Space Management Office.

Currently, Middle Eastern studies, journalism, Judaic studies, media arts and a program from the College of Engineering have negotiated for space in the building, she said.

The first floor of the five-story building will contain commercial space, but the specific businesses it will house have not been finalized, Valencia said.

The building is part of a larger plan by the Marshall Foundation, the landlord of the Main Gate business district. The project will transform the intersection of North Park Avenue and East University Boulevard from the decade-old buildings that lie there now to an area designed to be reminiscent of the intersection as it was developed in the 1930s by the UA's first female professor, Louise Foucar Marshall.

The approval to lease the approximately 70,000 square feet of academic space in the building came at the Arizona Board of Regents meeting last January.

The university space was later amended at the June 21 meeting to total 83,000 square feet.

The Marshall Foundation, a not-for-profit organization that donates 50 percent to 60 percent of its net revenue to the UA in the form of scholarship funds and assistance for projects, did not return phone calls, but the university's contract with the foundation outlines that the lease will last for a five-year term and have the option to renew in five-year increments.

With the extra space, the journalism department is planning a more expansive video news production lab, additional computer lab space, a second seminar room and additional office space on the third floor, said Jacqueline Sharkey, journalism department head.

If completed by the new date, the departments would move in during the holiday break to have everything up and running for spring 2004.

The Franklin building, which currently houses a majority of the departments to relocate to the new building, will be demolished after being vacated by the departments, Valdez said.

To keep with the foundation's non-profit and tax exempt status, Marshall Foundation representatives asked regents to limit the lease term to 40 years at the June 21 meeting.

The January regents meeting showed that the building would also include new lab space for the International Sustainability of Semi-Arid Hydrology and Riparian Area Project.

East Asian Studies, which was initially thought to be moving into the building, moved into the new Learning Services building on East First Street this semester.

"It's a great move for us," said J. Edward Wright, associate professor and director of the committee on Judaic studies.

The department was originally in the Franklin building, but outgrew its allotted space.

The Hebrew language professors moved their offices into a space in the Geronimo Shopping Center on East University Boulevard two years ago, Wright said.


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