Union gets $500,000 raincoat

By Melissa Prentice

Arizona Daily Wildcat

Are the days of a rain-bucket-clad Student Union finally over?

Not quite, but the Union has now taken at least one step in that direction.

After returning from spring break, students entering the Union by the Fiddle Fig Restaurant walked on the new decking for the first time, as repair crews finished the last minute details of replacing the old benches, tables and newspaper racks.

During the break, crews worked around the clock to have the decks re-waterproofed and ready to walk on again by Monday when students returned. The project involved jackhammering the former concrete decking and replacing the asbestos waterproofing membrane underneath.

"That week (spring break) was chosen for two reasons: the weather and choosing a time when we would least disrupt the traffic flow," said Mike Low, Student Union interim director. "That week would have low traffic flow and the weather cooperated with us."

How effective the almost $500,000 waterproofing project will be is yet to be tested, said Joel Valdez, vice president of business affairs. "We'll have to wait and see what happens when it rains," he said.

And the first floor re-decking project is just the first step to curbing the Unions leaking problem. Last night, crews started work on the Union Club decks. Preparatory work on the second and third floor decks is also being started, but the construction will not be completed for several weeks, Low said. In the end, most of the Union's "most visible leaks" will be stopped, he said.

Other leaking results from problems with the Union's roof, Low said. But Valdez said there are no projects scheduled to repair the roof, since "most of the leaking problems are with the decks."

Valdez had appropriated the money for the waterproofing project from a miscellaneous budget resulting from savings on the estimated costs of other projects, he said.

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