UA’s new downtown Tucson Science Center project in limbo

February 19, 2009

By hammersmith

Science Center project in limbo

Rob O’Dell and Aaron Mackey

Arizona Daily Star

Work was suspended Wednesday on the proposed University of Arizona Science Center on the West Side — a project seen for years as the centerpiece of Tucson’s Rio Nuevo redevelopment district. The University of Arizona, which has spent more than $13 million on four different plans for the center, is “suspending” work on the project due to the economic crisis.

While asserting the university still wants to build the Science Center someday, University President Robert Shelton said the school cannot afford to burn the cash it would take to get the center ready for construction this year. “We couldn’t continue” to spend that kind of money, Shelton said. “We need this hiatus for a while.”

He said the soonest the project could get restarted is early next year, and even that would mean six more months of planning before any possible construction.

City Council members said they still support the project. Councilwoman Nina Trasoff said the partnership between the UA and the city is strong, adding, “This is merely a slowing down of the timetable.” Councilwoman Regina Romero said she wants an update in one year to see if the project can move forward.

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