Monday, September 03, 2007

Old Tucson college building on endangered places list

[Source: Teya Vitu, Tucson Citizen] -- The crumbling adobe Marist College building in downtown Tucson is one of 16 properties statewide to make the Arizona's Most Endangered Historic Places list, the Arizona Preservation Foundation announced Thursday. The 1916 three-story structure on the grounds of St. Augustine Cathedral is the tallest adobe structure in southern Arizona, but monsoon storms in recent years have torn away part of the the northwest corner and weakened the other corners. The Roman Catholic Diocese of Tucson and city officials have wrestled since last year with what role taxpayer money could or should play in the estimated $1 million to $3 million cost to stabilize the Marist building and fix it up for a new tenant.

"It does have an interesting and rich history behind it," said Vince Murray, the Tempe-based preservation foundation's president. "It is also imminently endangered. It's got some serious structural problems. It really does need somebody to step up to the plate." The Endangered Historic Places list is meant to focus attention on historic properties facing serious problems. "We've been working with the diocese to see if we can find a private development partner," said Marty McCune, the city's historic preservation officer. "We do have it on our preliminary list of Pima County bond projects for $2 million." The Marist College served as a school until 1968 and then housed diocese offices until it was vacated in 2002. The Empire-Cienega Ranch near Sonoita was the other Pima County property to make the 2007 endangered list. [Photo source: Gary Gaynor, Tucson Citizen.]