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Visitors Center opening today

Cassandra Tomlin/Arizona Daily Wildcat
Today's grand opening of the UA Visitors Center will celebrate with an open house, which will include appearances by the Pride of Arizona marching band and Wilbur and Wilma Wildcat. The new location has been designed to accommodate the high demand for information about the university created by campus visitors as well as prospective and new students.
By Zach Colick
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Friday, November 18, 2005
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Building may get solar power, if approved

The UA Visitors Center will mark its grand opening today with an open house from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. in its new location just west of campus.

Special guests at the event will include the Pride of Arizona marching band, UA mascots and cheerleaders, and exhibitors from the Lunar and Planetary Laboratory, space sciences - including an exhibit of the Phoenix Mars Mission - and other UA attractions, said Visitors Center Director Heather Lukach.

"Students will be able to see what our staff can provide for them as well as the exhibits some of the UA departments have been willing to showcase here," Lukach said.

Handouts, raffles, refreshments and other entertainment will also be showcased during the grand opening.

Visitors Center staff will be available today and in the future to help direct guests to campus destinations, answer any questions and lead them on tours of the campus with maps of highlighted destinations, such as the Student Union Memorial Center, Centennial Hall and the Manuel T. Pacheco Integrated Learning Center, among many others, said student employee Brett Kleinman, an undeclared sophomore.

With ample space, the center will offer kiosks for the UA Press and the UofA Bookstore, as well as an area to buy tickets from UApresents, rotating UA exhibits and two wide-screen televisions running the UA cable channel, Lukach said.

Though the center has been open for three weeks now, Kleinman said he's seen more prospective students come in to ask questions and get information than current UA students, and doesn't foresee that changing.

"We have a big campus and it can be intimidating at times," Kleinman said. "The Visitor Center has been useful to them knowing they have these resources. It's a great information center and starting point for students and visitors alike."

The new home of the Visitors Center, 811 N. Euclid Ave., is twice the size of its former location, with almost 4,800 square feet to greet newcomers to the UA, Lukach said.

The Visitors Center may also become the first building on campus to produce electricity exclusively using solar energy if student organizations have their way.

The center's building has been pegged as the possible location to install the first solar panels on campus.

It is the ideal location to support the goal of using solar energy since both the project and the center's goals are to help bring students and the rest of the university community together, said Associated Students of the University of Arizona President Cade Bernsen.

"I'm glad to see everything is situated and the pieces are in place to create a state of the art center to provide information and services to students and anyone else at their disposal," said Bernsen, a political science senior. "The solar project will be visible from the street, showing the community that the UA is looking toward the future and solve the steps of the energy crisis."

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