UTEP’s expansion decision on hold

UTEP+awaits+decission+from+the+board+of+regents+on+ASARCO+land.

Andres Martinez

UTEP awaits decission from the board of regents on ASARCO land.

Kimberly Valle , Staff Reporter

The purchase of 443 acres of land, where the former ASARCO smelter site was located, is an agenda item for UTEP in the coming year. The University of Texas Board of Regents met for two days on Nov. 5 and 6 at UTEP and discussed the potential purchase and expansion of campus.

Executive Vice President Richard Adauto said the regents made no decision and that the meeting was just to bring them up to date with the process.

“We still have a year’s worth of due diligence to do,” Adauto said. “We still need to look at the remediation efforts done by the ASARCO trustee.”

Kimberly Cossio, junior multimedia journalism major, said it’s a great idea for UTEP to expand, but the process of it should be thought out thoroughly.

“They need to think it through because if they want that land for housing for the students they also need to think about the ways of transportation and the routes,” Cossio said. “Even though it’s not that far from the university, it’s also not that close.”

Cossio also said part of making a decision is making sure the land is not under any sort of contamination that could affect the campus population.

“UTEP is a growing university with more students going to college after high school from El Paso, Las Cruces and Ciudad Juárez, not to mention out of the city and state and people that are going back to school,” Cossio said.

Felisha Mitchell, senior criminal justice major, also said transportation for students and protection from possible security issues near Mexico is something else to think about.

Adauto said it would take between 12 and 16 months for a final decision to be reached. If the decision is a yes, Adauto said it is too early to speculate what new buildings will be constructed. The cost or the starting date of construction are not yet known.

The ASARCO trustees are remediating the property to a standard that will be acceptable to the Texas Commission for Environmental Quality, according to Adauto.

Kimberly Valle may be reached at [email protected]