Arizona Daily Wildcat Online
sections
Front Page
News
Opinions
Columnists
Election 2004
Sports
Football
Go Wild
Concert Blog
Police Beat
Datebook
Comics
Crossword
Special Sections
Photo Spreads
Classifieds
The Wildcat
Letter to the Editor
Wildcat Staff
Search
Archives
Job Openings
Advertising Info
Student Media
Arizona Student Media Info
UATV -
Student TV
 
KAMP -
Student Radio
The Desert Yearbook
Daily Wildcat Staff Alumni

UA to purchase La Aldea housing


Photo
MICHAEL STRICKLER/Arizona Daily Wildcat
Political science freshman Jenna Greenzang studies outside the La Aldea graduate housing complex yesterday afternoon. The UA will buy out the $21.9 million complex from its private owners due to their inability to effectively manage students' needs.
By Natasha Bhuyan
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Monday, October 4, 2004
Print this

TEMPE - Arizona Board of Regents approved the UA's request to sell up to $21.9 million in bonds Friday to purchase La Aldea, a graduate student housing complex privately owned by Ambling Companies.

With funding from the System Revenue Bonds, La Aldea, located on North Euclid Avenue, could soon operate under UA's Residence Life management, said Joel Valdez, senior vice president of business affairs at the UA.

La Aldea - a $21 million apartment-style complex that can house up to 325 students in single, double and quadruple rooms - opened in the fall of 2003 to replace Christopher City, UA's former graduate student housing.

UA President Peter Likins said the UA originally entered into an agreement with Ambling Companies for entrepreneurial and financial reasons. While the UA leased the La Aldea property, Ambling was to operate the facilities until prepayment of bonds, approximately 10 years.

Since then, Likins said the UA has learned the drawbacks of a private company managing student needs.

Due to poor marketing, Ambling was unable to fill La Aldea with graduate students, Likins said. As a result, 44 undergraduates also live at La Aldea to relieve debt, despite a graduate student population that makes up 23 percent of the student body, said Amanda Brobbel, president of Graduate and Professional Student Council.

Brobbel hopes under Residence Life management, La Aldea will be exclusively for graduate students.

Student Regent Ben Graff, a second-year law student, said although it's financially important to have relations with private third parties, he cautioned against their use in management, citing the numerous problems La Aldea residents have faced in the past year.

Last August, La Aldea did not open on time, forcing many students to spend their first few days of the semester in a hotel, Graff said.

In addition, Graff said he thinks Ambling took advantage of students.

For example, students were angered when charged $50 to forward their mail over the summer, a service which is provided free by the U.S. Postal Service, Graff said.

Brobbel said residents are also upset they must pay for a parking space on top of their rent.

According to a La Aldea rental rate sheet, a single bedroom, single bathroom apartment costs $730 per month.

Since the UA was not directly involved with the operation of La Aldea, administrators were unable to attend to student concerns. With the university's purchase of La Aldea, Graff said injustices against students can be addressed and remedied.

Michael Koss, a graduate student in music and year-long resident of La Aldea, said while his experience at La Aldea has been positive, the change of management is a practical move.

"It's nice to be able to have (the owners) right across the street," Koss said.

Jared Stewart, a second-year law student and year-long resident of La Aldea, said he's heard many complains from residents throughout the past year, ranging from maintenance problems to delayed construction.

Stewart said some residents even attempted to form a coalition last year to address their concerns through "group bargaining power."

Brobbel said when unhappy residents approached GPSC last spring, they decided to contact UA administration.

"Right away, the responses were, 'We know that we need to deal with the situation,'" Brobbel said.

According to the regents executive summary, the UA expects the System Revenue Bonds will be marketed and sold before the end of the year, and Brobbel hopes to begin working on changes by next semester.

Alistair Chapman, student body president, said UA's acquisition of La Aldea will result in positive changes because Residence Life understands the needs of students as opposed to a private enterprise.

"La Aldea has the potential, space, and amenities to become great graduate student housing," Graff said.

Regents also approved Friday UA's request to sell a vacant sorority house on Vine Avenue and Helen Street, an estimated value of more than $1.6 million. Because the property was originally purchased in 2002 for $1.4 million, the net sale proceeds would reimburse the Residence Life reserves and partially fund La Aldea, Valdez said.

In other business, regents approved the university's $325,000 purchase of land on 1118 E. Mabel St. to support Parking & Transportation Service's critical need for parking structures in the North Campus area.

Although board approval is required for any property purchase over $250,000, Valedez said the property was bought in August without board ratification due to competing sales offers.

"I made the executive decision to buy it and then throw myself at the mercy of the board," Valdez said.



Write a Letter to the Editor
articles
The journey of a lifetime
divider
Tutor becomes lifelong friend
divider
Lost Boys find new homes on campus
divider
Regents eliminate humanities program
divider
Early polling site at UA OK'd
divider
UA to purchase La Aldea housing
divider
Billionaires for Bush 'support' 'W' in Tucson
divider
Athletes run, roll to help raise funds for UA's Disability Resource Center
divider
Concert celebrates voters
divider
Fast facts
divider
Police Beat
divider
Datebook
divider
Restaurant and Bar Guide
Housing Guide
Search for:
advanced search Archives

NEWS | SPORTS | OPINIONS | GO WILD
CLASSIFIEDS | ARCHIVES | CONTACT US | SEARCH



Webmaster - webmaster@wildcat.arizona.edu
Copyright 2004 - The Arizona Daily Wildcat - Arizona Student Media