Pacheco to decide on Microsoft deal

By Yvonne Condes

Arizona Daily Wildcat

The future of the job market in Tucson for many soon-to-be and present UA graduates, is in the hands of university President Manuel Pacheco.

Pacheco has until tomorrow to decide whether Microsoft Corp. will be allowed to lease part of the University of Arizona Science and Technology Park for a customer support facility.

Microsoft will pay only for the space it is using, but the company wants additional space to be held in case of expansion. This will cause the Arizona Board of Regents' non-profit corporation, Rita Road Campus Corp., to lose $4 million in rent. That amount is needed from the county, the city and other community sources and must be assured before Pacheco will make a decision.

According to Pacheco, he does "not have the cash to put on the table," and UA budgetary funds cannot be used.

"It's not accurate to say it all rests on me," Pacheco said.

Once Pacheco makes his decision, Microsoft will make theirs regarding the 10-year lease.

In the long term, the deal could be very good for the UA, said Pima County Supervisor Raul Grijalva, if Microsoft chooses to hire locally and does not relocate current employees to Tucson. If public funds are used, there "needs to be public benefit," he said.

There will be no negative effects on the UA, Pacheco said.

"What this will do is provide high technology jobs for graduates of the university by having Microsoft in town," Pacheco said, "so in that respect it is a very, very good deal for students who are in the fields that (they) would require."

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