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Poetry Center construction gets additional $1 million


Photo
JAKE LACEY/Arizona Daily Wildcat
Regent Ernest Calderon opposes the allocation of money to the construction of a new Poetry Center during the Arizona Board of Regents meeting on March 11. Following the approval of a tuition increase, Calderon asked the board to consider where money is spent in order to help control future increases in tuition.
By Natasha Bhuyan
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Monday, March 21, 2005
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One regent opposes use of tuition revenue to partially fund the project

The Arizona Board of Regents approved a new Poetry Center facility Friday, granting an additional $1 million to the $5.8 million project with $1.9 million of the expense coming from tuition revenue.

Construction of the 17,650-square-foot facility received opposition from one regent, who said regents should reconsider their priorities since $1.9 million of tuition revenue is not an "artificial figure."

Regent Ernest Calderon, the only one to oppose the move, urged the board to think carefully about how they allocate money.

Since regents approved tuition hikes a day earlier, Calderon said it did not make sense to turn around the next day and spend money on building construction.

"If we can control spending, we can control tuition increases," Calderon said.

President Peter Likins defended construction of the new Poetry Center facility and said it is a resource for students, faculty, guest writers, lecturers, scholars and poets from around the nation.

"It is one of the true gems of our university," Likins said.

The new facility for the Poetry Center, located at the southeast corner of East Helen Street and North Vine Avenue, will be home to the center's collection of literary books, journals, multimedia materials and off-site storage of contemporary literature.

The facility will also include outreach programs, such as the Humanities Seminar Program and housing accommodations for visiting writers.

Dennis Evans, associate dean of external affairs for the College of Humanities, said the Poetry Center is not only important for its extensive collection of academic works, but also because it's the primary support unit for the UA's creative writing program and is used by hundreds of students each week.

While $1.9 million of the facility will be funded by tuition revenue, the rest of the budget will be covered by gifts, including $1 million in cash donations and $3.9 million from gifts after bond payments.

Operation and maintenance costs will be funded by $127,600 of general fund appropriations, according to regent's reports.

The project's original budget was $5.8 million, one-third of which was to be paid by tuition and two-thirds covered by benefactors, Likins said.

Increases in the cost of construction materials, such as steel and concrete, forced the new facility's budget to increase, said Joel Valdez, senior vice president of business affairs for the UA.

Gary Stuart, president of the regents, said because the Poetry Center is a world-class facility, he supported funding the budget increase.

"For us to commit $1.9 million in tuition dollars is a very wise investment," Stuart said.



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