Downtown campus on UA drawing board

By Melissa Prentice and Amanda Hunt

Arizona Daily Wildcat

University students could soon take classes among the city's skyscrapers.

Last week, Mayor George Miller proposed that the University of Arizona create a downtown campus as part of a plan to "reinvigorate the downtown area."

The new independent four-year campus, which will be overseen by the UA for an undetermined length of time, will be housed temporarily at the former IBM facility on South Rita Road. However, Celestino Fernandez, the executive vice president and provost of the college, said the UA is interested in exploring the downtown area as an option for a permanent campus. If the UA then decides to pursue the proposal, the Arizona Board of Regents would need to give final approval.

"Mayor Miller proposed the concept and we responded that, yes, we were

interested in a more comprehensive proposal," he said. "We are delighted by the interest and support for the new campus."

Miller said a downtown campus would bring more people to the area and thus increase the area's business.

"We need more people Downtown," he said. "Years and years ago people came Downtown because it was the only place to go. If you wanted to eat out or go to a movie, you came Downtown. But it started changing in the 50s with the malls.

"With that many people downtown, the businesses will do a lot better and will probably invite more businesses to the area," he said.

Other proposals for the area include a new $100 million Federal Judicial Building and a $175 million project including a mall, hotel and new city and county buildings, Miller said.

In other news, the tuition hearing scheduled for Jan. 20 has been tentatively re-scheduled for April 12.

The hearing will provide students at the three state universities with a "best guess" of what tuition increases will be for the following school year, said Paul Allvin, director of the Arizona Students' Association.

ASA, the board of regents and others had requested that the hearing be scheduled earlier in the semester this year to give students more time to plan for the following year's increases.

"We're trying to hit a moving target," Allvin said.

He said there are many components necessary to setting tuition and if the meeting were held at the earlier date some information would not be available.

At the hearings held every spring, the regents assemble and evaluate tuition recommendations made by ASA, students and student

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