ABOR Agenda: Coach Contract, Phoenix-Based Cancer Center

The regents meet at the UA on Thursday and Friday. It will be the last meeting for three of them.
Nov. 30, 2011
Rich Rodriguez
Rich Rodriguez

The Arizona Board of Regents will be asked to approve a multiyear contract for new head football coach Rich Rodriguez when it convenes at the University of Arizona on Thursday and Friday.

The board also will consider an expansion project in the north end zone of Arizona Stadium, as well as plans for a UA cancer center on the University's biomedical campus in Phoenix.

To start things off, UA President Eugene G. Sander will report to the board on the University's K-12 outreach efforts and its recent formation of Tech Launch Arizona, both of which address standards the regents have put forward to improve the state's university system.

Rodriguez's five-year contract would run from Dec. 1 this year through Nov. 30, 2016, with a salary beginning at $1.45 million the first year and increasing each year until it reaches $1.8 million in its final year. The money would be paid entirely with funds generated by the UA athletics department. Rodriguez ould be eligible for bonuses if players meet certain academic goals.

The stadium project would cost $72.3 million, with a construction cost of $56 million. If approved, the University would issue bonds to cover the costs.

The project would add new premium spectator seating, provide stairs and elevator towers to connect the existing east and west stadium sections, and add new restrooms and space for food service vendors. It would total 183,683 square feet in size.

Built in 1928, the stadium is the oldest athletics facility on campus that’s still in use, and it is the largest public assembly building on campus, according to documents provided to the regents by the University.

Sander said he expects that both items will pass muster with the regents.

He said he's very interested in seeing the regents approve the construction of the cancer center in Phoenix.

Also on the agenda are plans for the Arizona Cancer Center-Phoenix, which is currently the largest city in the nation without a National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center, according to documentation provided to the regents by the University.

The project is expected to cost $135 million, $50 million of which will be gifted and the remaining financed by the UA through the issue of bonds. If it's approved, construction is expected to begin in the summer, with a projected completion date of mid-2014. It would be part of the UA's Phoenix Biomedical Campus.

Sander said this approval would be one of the beginning steps toward making the cancer center a reality.

Provost Jacqueline Mok said the board has reinstituted the practice of having the host university's president give a report on how the school is meeting standards set forth by the regents, and Sander is going to speak about two that haven’t had much attention.

One is the UA's early academic outreach efforts in the community, to get students – and their parents – prepared for  college.

The other is Tech Launch Arizona, a new technology commercialization center that was formed to ensure greater cohesion among the community, business sector and institutional inventors, to promote the transfer of ideas and technology to market.

Sander said he is looking forward to a special dinner Thursday night, at which all former regents from Southern Arizona will be honored.

Also, this will be the last regents meeting for Ernest Calderon, Chairman Fred DuVal and Vice Chairman Bob McLendon, all of whom have reached the end of their terms and are leaving the board in January.