Students and staff have a new place to dine and shop since the Highland Market, the first grocery store on campus, opened yesterday in the Highland Commons housing district.
In addition to produce and other health and beauty items, the market also includes a full sandwich deli, salad bar and espresso bar.
The construction cost about $1 million, said Brian Dolan, UA facilities project manager and supervisor of the Highland Market construction project.
The project was funded by the combined efforts of the Arizona Student Unions and Residence Life, said Dan Adams, director of Arizona Student Unions.
More than 150 were in attendance for the grand opening at 9 a.m., including several hall residents and staff members from Arizona Student Unions, Residence Life, Campus Health, administrators and others.
Though some Arizona Student Unions staff said they were concerned about the mid-semester opening, Dolan said he thinks the market will be well received by students.
Many students who live in the dorms said they are grateful the market has opened because of its convenience.
Kristin Lien, a material sciences and engineering freshman who lives in Villa Del Puente Residence Hall, said she is tired of walking to the Student Union Memorial Center to get a meal because it is too far from her dorm.
"It's nice to have the option now, to come here and have a sandwich and a good meal," Lien said. "It's a lot nicer than going to the other U-Mart in the student union."
Kyle Freese, an undeclared freshman, also lives at Villa Del Puente and said having the Highland Market is "a dream come true."
Freese said he is tired of eating at the fast food restaurants in the student union and looks forward to eating some of the healthier alternatives offered at the market, particularly the produce.
"It's been two months. I'm so tired of the union already," Freese said. "I will be here every day."
The Highland Market was dedicated to Mike Wetzel, a 17-year employee of the UA who resigned as the supervisor of all convenience stores on campus when he was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's disease two years ago.
In order to care for him, Mike Wetzel's parents, Alan and Peg, moved from Oklahoma, where they had retired, to Tucson in January 2003.
Alan Wetzel, who has worked in the grocery store business for 38 years and owned a chain of markets in Illinois, was asked to stay and take over as manager of food services at the UA when Mike could no longer work.
"Mike grew up in our stores and carried his talent to the University of Arizona," Alan Wetzel said.
"Mike's inspiration took (convenience) stores to a whole new level," said David Galbraith, director of dining services for Arizona Student Unions.
"I am so moved that we're honoring Mike and his family," said Saundra Taylor, vice president of Campus Life.
Taylor read a statement from Mike Wetzel at the end of the ceremony.
The market, located at East Sixth Street and North Highland Avenue, is open every day from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m.