UA Establishes Presence in Downtown Tucson

The University of Arizona and Pima County will dedicate and celebrate the establishment of University of Arizona Downtown, or UAD, in the historic Roy Place Building, located at the southeast corner of Stone Avenue and Pennington Street in Tucson.

The Roy Place Celebration will be held on Thursday, Dec. 16, at 2 p.m. across the street from the Place Building in Jacome Plaza, next to the Joel Valdez Public Library and will include remarks by UA President Robert N. Shelton and Fred DuVal of the Arizona Board of Regents.

The UA, in collaboration with Pima County, plans the Roy Place Building – home to a former Walgreens and Montgomery Ward – to be a research/outreach/teaching center. UAD will be an urban laboratory for advanced research in sustainable urban design, planning and policy.

Roy Place will serve as UAD's home under a five-year lease from Pima County, with options for an additional five-year period. The UA and Pima County will collaborate on the operation and maintenance of this historic building to assure that it is well-maintained and preserved.

The UA College of Architecture and Landscape Architecture, or CALA, initiated and largely drove the process of exploring ways to establish the UA's presence in downtown Tucson and was key in developing the partnership between the UA and Pima County. That process resulted in the agreement for use of Roy Place and the UA's planned programs and activities downtown.

"We're creating a ‘communiversity' in downtown Tucson to assist in urban revitalization via academic programs, faculty, staff and students," CALA Dean Jan Cervelli said. "In partnership with county, city and other public and non-governmental agencies, the University of Arizona will serve as an incubator for talent, a leader for addressing environmental and social needs and as a catalyst for a vibrant economy and culture in downtown Tucson and the southern Arizona region."

By: UA Communications

UAD will serve as an interface between college and community, a "nerve center" where UA faculty members and students can connect with city officials and staff, community leaders and project developers for dialogue, vision, analysis and development of sustainable scenarios for the future. UAD also will serve as a forum where academic, civic, cultural and business leaders will meet to discuss and debate multiple sustainability scenarios for the future of Tucson and Southern Arizona.

Initial CALA academic programs at UAD will include an interdisciplinary Urban Design Studio (Architecture, Landscape Architecture and Planning), the Drachman Institute (outreach arm of CALA), Historic Preservation and other programs like Real Estate Development to follow. The College of Social and Behavioral Sciences' initial programs will include Master of Public Administration and Policy and Master of Geographic Information Technology and Science.

UAD will partner with the county and city on the development of solutions to important urban design and land-use issues facing the Southern Arizona region. UAD also will sponsor a series of exhibits, lectures and discussion sessions on issues related to sustainable urban development.

UAD's building will feature linkage and access to the UA's library resources provided by the University Library and a new retail store operated by the UA BookStores.

UAD will be dedicated to furthering the broad-based inquiry into the complex environmental challenges of 21st century urbanism and devising progressive solutions to these challenges.

The Roy Place Building is named after one of Tucson's most influential architects of the early 20th century. The downtown structure, built in 1929 as a Montgomery Ward department store, also housed Place's architectural office where he designed several Tucson landmarks, including the iconic Pima County Courthouse.

From 1919 to 1940 Place also designed more than 20 campus buildings – many on the National Register of Historic Places – including the Arizona State Museum, Centennial Hall and Steward Observatory.

Said R. Brooks Jeffery, director of the UA Drachman Institute: "It is appropriate then that the building in which the University of Arizona will focus its downtown community outreach efforts was designed by and will be named for the campus's most significant architect."