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Architecture college proposes downtown UA campus

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Lisa Beth Earle | The Daily Wildcat lisa beth earle/ Arizona Daily Wildcat The Roy Place Building on the south-east corner of Stone and Pennington is the location for a proposed downtown UA campus.

Members of the Tucson community, in partnership with the College of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, have drafted a proposal describing the creation of a downtown UA campus.


The proposal is very preliminary and does not constitute any official action, officials said, but the aim would be to build a so-called ""communiversity"" between the UA and downtown.

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The proposal was released by Janice Cervelli, the dean of the College of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, and documented a ""collection of interested parties looking to create more of a presence for the university downtown,"" she said.


A major component of the planning process is trying to get an understanding of what the educational needs of downtown are and matching those needs to those of the UA, she said.


Cervelli cited her own college as an example, saying it would be beneficial to relocate downtown because of the college's expertise in urban design, which could help in the re-development efforts of downtown Tucson.


The proposal describes the downtown campus as a ""center for learning"" that would integrate support from the city, the county and the university to ""more fully engage the knowledge economy.""


Although officials said many sites are being considered, the proposal calls special attention to the historic Roy Place building at 44-60 W. Stone Ave., near Pennington Street. According to the proposal, Pima County — the building's owner and landlord — is offering several floors of the building for the university's use.


Financial challenges in this year's unstable budget climate will influence the project's speed and development, she said.


ASU's downtown Phoenix campus has become a good example to learn from, Cervelli noted. Debra Friedman, dean of the College of Public Programs at ASU, said that developing the downtown Phoenix campus took about three years.


In order to establish the Phoenix campus, the city agreed to bring a bond before the voters of the city to see whether or not they wanted to invest in it, she explained.


Phoenix voters proposed to issue a bond in March 2005 for $233 million — the largest investment in the city, Friedman said.


""Downtown Tucson is in need of some vitalization — which applied to Phoenix as well — so the city was interested in establishing a downtown Phoenix campus as part of the revitalization,"" she said.


After the bond passed, ASU colleges moved to the downtown campus and 3,500 students were present on opening day. Now, there are about 7,000 students and it has become the ""campus of choice,"" she said.


Dean of the UA Outreach College Mike Proctor said he has attended a series of discussions about the proposal led by Cervelli.


""My sense is that people want to explore what the possibilities are and learn more about what that involves — that is where the stage is at,"" Proctor said.


Cervelli said that no deadline has been set for finalizing the proposal, but by the end of this academic year, planners should have a better idea of what the possibilities are.





 


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