UT Board of Regents to consider buying Asarco land for UTEP

By: Joshua Zuber | KFOX14

EL PASO, Texas –

The possible purchase of Asarco’s land for the expansion of UTEP was discussed at a University of Texas Board of Regents meeting Thursday in El Paso.

UTEP’s president said the acquisition would about double the size of its existing campus because the purchase could involve some 450 acres.

The Asarco site has been in remediation since the site shut down in 1999.

It was last year in April that KFOX 14 was there as the two stacks were brought down.

“It butts our property in the northern part of our campus near the recreation center,” Dr. Diana Natalicio, UTEP’s president, said.

Natalicio made the pitch to the UT Board of Regents in a rare meeting at the UTEP campus.

“It would be up to the Board of Regents to decide if it’s a place where you could put any kind of development,” Natalicio said.

What would go there has yet to be officially decided, though Natalicio said student housing could be a promising option.

“What we’re trying to do is ensure that 50 years from now whoever is here will have an opportunity to grow the campus in any way that they might want to do,” Natalicio said.

One student KFOX 14 talked to on campus said she likes the idea of making UTEP a bigger, and therefore, possibly better campus.

“I think that’s great because we do need a lot more building, a lot more room, because it is expanding; a lot more students are coming in, and that would give us the chance to bring more students in,” Dafne Olivares said.

But with more students, property and buildings to manage, one student KFOX 14 talked to said he worries about there being some downsides to the idea.

He wonders if possible extra costs the university might have to pay could lead to less local students.

“It is great for the school itself, it is great for El Paso, but for students in El Paso would start to dwindle off,” Jose Ceniceros said.

University officials told KFOX 14 while it is too early to know where the funding for this land acquisition and other construction would come from, a spokesperson did say the cost of tuition should not go up.

Source: http://kfoxtv.com/news/features/top-stories/stories/UT-Board-of-Regents-to-consider-buying-Asarco-land-for-UTEP-56043.shtml#.VL7DXNLF-aW