Construction projects changed face of campus

By Jessica Lee
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Wednesday, May 12, 2004

ILC, Student Union Memorial Center just a few of new campus structures

Seniors who receive their diplomas on Saturday will be leaving a campus that looks much different from what they entered four or more years ago.

From the big hole on the UA Mall that was later to become the Integrated Learning Center to the one of the largest student unions in the nation, students will leave the UA with memories of construction fences and building grand openings.

The new Student Union Memorial Center is the largest construction project in the past few years and the only one modeled to resemble the USS Arizona, a battleship sunk in 1941 in the Pearl Harbor attack.

Students daily frequent the restaurants, study rooms and entertainment areas that are housed in the 405,000-square-foot, $60 million structure. Gallagher Theater, the Cellar, the UofA Bookstore and Associated Students of the University of Arizona offices all returned to the new building.

On the east side of the Mall, construction has included the ILC, the Eddie Lynch Pavilion, an expansion to the Ina E. Gittings dance theater complex, a new floor atop the Main Library and new million dollar scoreboards for both McKale Center and Arizona Stadium.

The $20 million underground ILC created a hole big enough for the McKale Center to fit in it. Lynne Tronsdal, assistant vice president for student retention, said construction went on for 777 days.

"It was a big hole for a long time," Tronsdal said.

Beneath the Mall, faculty enjoy new teaching technology in 10 classrooms, a large informational commons and tutoring centers. The technology is slated to receive its three-year update soon, Tronsdal said.

At the center of campus lies the progress of the new Alumni Plaza. Ground was broken in December for the plaza that will be a gathering place for students, with trees, a grass slope, benches and fountains.

The $4.85 million project will provide a space for recreation and honor alumni, and create a place to exhibit UA heritage and traditions, said Michael McDonald, spokesperson for the Alumni Plaza.

In 2001-2002, the project faced controversy when the Alumni Association proposed relocating the Joseph Wood Krutch cactus garden to the west side of Old Main. Many said that the three priceless boojum trees would not survive a transplant. As a result of campus opposition to the move, the plaza now will incorporate and enlarge the garden.

The plaza should be complete by Homecoming 2004, McDonald said.

The UA's 550 student-athletes are now enjoying a state-of-the-art strength and conditioning center in the Eddie Lynch Pavilion, a $15 million extension of McKale Center.

Flanking the pavilion is the extension to the Meinel Optical Sciences building, a project that will double the size of the current building, creating a world-class research facility, UA officials said.

Perhaps the most striking difference on campus is the nearly completed Highland District projects on North Highland Avenue and East Sixth Street that includes four new residence halls, the Sixth Street Garage and new offices for Campus Health Service and Residence Life.

Campus Health has been on the Mall since 1936, but now enjoys a $19 million, 85,000-square-foot building that it shares with the Disability Resource Center and Health Promotion and Prevention Services.

"(The complex) allows us better space to offer the broad array of programs and services that the Campus Health Service provides to UA students," said Harry McDermott, executive director for Campus Health and Wellness.

"Sharing the building provided cost efficiencies and offers the potential to share resources and space in support of the programs and services each of us offers," said McDermott.

Heading west, University Boulevard has seen an increase in red bricks. The 74-year-old Marshall Foundation has been moving ahead with its Main Gate Square project.

Louise Marshall was the UA's first female professor and founded the Marshall Foundation in 1930, a nonprofit organization that donates 50 to 60 percent of its net revenue from leases to the UA every year in the form of funding for scholarships and projects.

Various UA departments, Arizona Bookstore and the Marshall Foundation offices now fill up the newest addition, the Louise F. Marshall building on North Park Avenue.

Nearby, the $12 million Tyndall Garage, completed in the last five years, provides hundreds more parking spaces to the campus community.

Bordering the parking garage is the colorful on-campus graduate housing project, La Aldea, which opened this school year. Replacing Christopher City, which was condemned in 2000, La Aldea has 145 units and four courtyards.

Nearby, $6 million of renovations have revamped the Park Student Union, adding 17,000 square feet of space, new restaurants and new space for Arizona Student Media and other UA departments.

North of campus near University Medical Center, lies a piece of land that will be the foundation of the Institute for Biomedical Science and Biotechnology.

The complex will be made up of the $65.7 million Keating BioResearch building, the $54 million Medical Research building and the $30 million Roy P. Drachman Hall. The buildings are slated to be finished in 2005-2006.

Adding more than 300,000 square feet of space, the complex will provide a home for the Mel and Enid Zuckerman College of Public Health, biosciences researchers and physicians, and classrooms for the Colleges of Nursing and Pharmacy.

A look into the future

If these changes weren't enough, David Duffy, director of Campus and Facilities Planning, has even more planned for the future.

The Comprehensive Campus Plan, adopted by the Arizona Board of Regents in June 2003, outlines future campus construction projects.

Those graduating should expect significant changes when returning to campus in the next several years.

The $72.6 million UA Science Center will be a major part of Tucson's Rio Nuevo project, which is attempting to revive downtown. The Flandrau Science Center and Planetarium will soon leave the UA campus to be part of the new project.

Succumbing to the demolition ball, the Franklin building will hit the dust and the space will be redeveloped.

The Chemistry building extension will close off South Campus Drive, and a large open space will fill the dirt patch near Highland Commons and the Mathematics building.

A new Poetry Center will appear in the north part of campus in addition to a new parking garage on East Helen Street and North Mountain Avenue, and the area near the Arizona Health Sciences Center will be developed with the addition of new greenbelts similar to the UA Mall on North Warren Avenue and East Mabel Street.

With the corner of Sixth Street and Campbell Avenue being reconstructed, the private sector is likely to keep investing in the periphery of campus, with possible changes to the northwest corner of Campbell Avenue and East Speedway Boulevard, Duffy said.

"(The development) will only enhance our environment for students, faculty and staff," he said.