By Joseph Barrios
Arizona Daily Wildcat
The Arizona Board of Regents unanimously approved a mission statement for the proposed fourth state campus and the first phase of a new first-year UA student building.
The mission statement reports that the new campus would focus on providing a "high-quality liberal arts education" and preparing students for a more global society.
Regent Andy Hurwitz said he liked the fact that the University of Arizona was taking steps to pursue realization of the new campus. He also said presenting only the mission statement instead of an entire campus structure was a good idea.
"I think this is the right way to proceed," Hurwitz said.
The new campus is intended to help absorb the estimated 55,000 students that will enter the Arizona University system by the year 2010. The campus is scheduled to be housed in the recently acquired IBM facility on South Rita Road.
The Board also approved project initiation for the UA's Intergrated Instructional Facility, a $16.9 million building intended to serve approximately 4,500 incoming students. The approval allows the UA to have the building listed on the board's Oct. 1 budget, which will be submitted to the Arizona State Legislature in January.
The new building is intended as a center for first-year students at the UA. It will house faculty and support staff of the three proposed "core curriculum classes." There is no estimated construction date.
Arizona State University and Northern Arizona University are also planning new buildings in anticipation of enrollment growth.
The board voted 4-3 for the conceptual approval of the proposed ASU Liberal Arts Building, Social Sciences-Phase I. The new building is intended to have classrooms and more computer teaching technology.
NAU was given conceptual approval of a $7.5 million classroom/office building in Yuma.
During discussion of the Liberal Arts Building, regents and university presidents debated how universities should deal with the need for increased physical teaching space and where state funds should go.
Regent John Munger said he was not sure the construction of new buildings was needed when some university faculty members are underpaid.
"I am not confident that we need these projects," Munger said. "How do we justify that to the legislature?" He voted in favor of the UA's proposal.
Munger and Regent Hank Amos, who voted at the meeting via speaker phone, said it might be better for universities to focus on restoring buildings on campus instead of constructing new ones.
"Some of the dormitories we have right now are rat holes. Let's take advantage and improve what we have right now," Amos said.
All state universities want to construct new buildings and buy new technology because of budget cuts for the past four years, said UA Provost Paul Sypherd. He said state universities have "pent-up demands" and are looking at making up for lost time. Sypherd said the UA has lacked in its ability to keep up with changing computer technology.
Both the NAU-Yuma building and Liberal Arts building were given project initiation approval on the condition that the board is able to give conceptual approval before January, when the board presents its budget to the Legislature.
Today's half of the meeting will include a vote to name the UA's College of Architecture's building addition and library, and whether the UA can enter a long-term lease with Kappa Sigma fraternity to build a fraternity house.
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