By Shannon M. Davis
Arizona Daily Wildcat
A downtown site for the New Campus is supported strongly no matter which democratic candidate emerges victorious from tomorrow's primary election.
In interviews with the Wildcat on Friday, both incumbent mayor George Miller and challenger Councilman Bruce Wheeler identified benefits for the City of Tucson if downtown were chosen as the site for the recommended New Campus.
"I know that the developers of Rocking K [Development] would like to see the campus out near there, but by the year 2000, downtown Tucson will be the center of the valley," Miller said. "It may be the center right now."
"The New Campus downtown would make this a place where we can live and play," Wheeler said. "That's been a dream of mine for years."
The idea for an additional campus came from a report given to the Arizona Board of Regents at a meeting in June 1993. A new campus in Pima County was one of the recommendations presented to accommodate the projected growth of 55,000 new students into Arizona's four-year institutions by the year 2010.
"We have existing buildings downtown that could be used until other facilities are needed. The US West building and the Tucson Community Center are available. The Main Library is a great resource," Miller said.
Neither candidate views the increase in traffic and congestion as a deterrent.
"We need congestion down here. I'd like it to be like San Francisco or New York," Miller said. "We have a great transportation system of freeways and buses that could bring in students from TUSD (Tucson Unified School District) and Pima Community College."
While equally enthusiastic in his support for the downtown siting of the New Campus, Wheeler is clear about who has the deciding power. "This is not a decision the UA or the City makes. The Board of Regents makes this decision. I hope they put it downtown for the good of the community and not somewhere else for the benefit of selfish speculators."
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