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Alumni Plaza will open in late October


Photo
WILL SEBERGER/Arizona Daily Wildcat
The Alumni Plaza near the Administration building courtyard is getting closer to completion. Bike paths in the area have reopened, and the size of the construction site is shrinking.
By Nathan Tafoya
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Tuesday, August 24, 2004
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Yellow tractors and raw dirt still mark what will soon be the Alumni Plaza, but the Alumni Association says things are coming along nicely.

The 108,000 square-foot Alumni Plaza, paid for by alumni and donors, broke ground Nov. 7, 2003, and is scheduled to be dedicated on Oct. 29. As part of the Arizona Alumni Association's homecoming, "The Bash at Alumni Plaza" celebration will be the official introduction of a UA mascot statue.

"The highlight of that will be the unveiling of the wildcat sculpture," said Jay Rochlin, editor of the UA's Arizona Alumnus magazine, about the bash. "That's going to be spectacular."

The sculpture, entitled "The Wildcat Family," is a bronzed monument depicting wildcat parents guarding two cubs. The symbolic family depiction is meant to show the tie between alumni (parents) and current and future students (cubs).

The $170,000 art piece stands approximately 11 feet tall and was completed over the summer.

"It is at an undisclosed location," said Anne Lopez, program coordinator for the alumni office, stating that the location would remain undisclosed for security reasons. The mascot family will be installed near the dedication date.

"It's probably going to be the last thing they put in," Lopez added.

Although the Alumni Plaza will be dedicated at homecoming, no one should expect to be able to walk on the plaza's grass.

"Part of it will be fenced off because there will be brand, brand new grass just laid down on it and they don't want the homecoming crowd trampling it," said Rochlin.

And while incoming freshmen may notice how inconvenient the construction site in the middle of campus can be, returning students can credit summer progress when they recognize a reopened and dearly missed bike path between the Administration and Modern Languages buildings.

There are also new benches and trees on the east side of the Administration building.

"The trees and the shade are going to be such a welcome addition to the campus," said Lopez.

The mesquite trees on the east side of the building were rescued from developmental project bulldozing around Tucson.

The first trees of Scholars Grove, three evergreen elms, were also planted.

Though students still have to make time-consuming detours to get to their classes, they are encouraged to be patient.

"It's hard to visualize this because it's not a building," said Lopez. "It's a lot of landscape and imagination."

Future amenities in the plaza will include terraces for musical performances and grassy hills for seating.

An artist's rendition and descriptions of the Alumni Plaza are available on the Alumni Association's Web site at uagrad.org/plaza.



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