Microsoft decision earns praise

By Yvonne Condes

Arizona Daily Wildcat

During a press conference yesterday with UA President Manuel Pacheco, Gov. Fife Symington said he is confident of the ultimate benefits that Microsoft Corp.'s presence in Tucson will provide.

"This is just the tip of the microchip," he said during the afternoon conference at Tucson International Airport.

Microsoft will lease part of the UA Science and Technology Park for a technical support center, bringing 200 jobs to Tucson by December.

Students from the UA and Pima Community College can look forward to finding quality jobs in Tucson, Symington said.

The move here will provide "opportunity for grads to go into jobs that pay well," Pacheco said, as well as opportunity for the UA and Microsoft to create joint development projects.

Microsoft's decision yesterday to move the facility to Tucson ended months of negotiations involving the UA, Tucson City Council, Pima County Board of Supervisors and the Arizona Board of Regents. Pacheco had to make a plea to the city for financial help because Microsoft will be renting 115,632 square feet, but 240,000 square feet will be held for Microsoft expansion. This will cost the regents $4 million in loss of rent money. Symington and members of the Legislature have promised $2 million dollars in state assistance, which still needs legislative approval and $1 million each from the county and city.

When asked his personal reaction to the deal, Pacheco said if it had failed to go through, he would have been blamed, just as if it went through, he would have received kudos undeservingly, he noted, as many people made sure that the agreement went forward.

This does not change plans for the UA's new four-year campus, Pacheco said. There is still space available for the new campus at the Technology park if the space is chosen for development.

Microsoft is expected to begin hiring in October and is holding an open house at the Doubletree Hotel, 445 S. Alvernon Way., on Tuesday to discuss support engineer and site management positions.

Mayor George Miller was scheduled to speak, but did not appear at the press conference.

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