UA eyes former governor's Nogales home for border studies center

Published: Feb. 10, 2016 at 10:27 PM MST|Updated: Mar. 2, 2018 at 4:19 PM MST
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NOGALES, AZ (Tucson News Now) - After former Arizona Gov. Raul Castro's death in April 2015 his family donated his home located on Crawford Street in Nogales, AZ to the UA College of Social and Behavioral Sciences.

Now the college is thinking about turning the building into the UA Castro Center for Border Studies and Outreach.

"The college has been a friend of the Castro family for about half a dozen years," said Dean of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences JP Jones. "They began to warm to the idea that rather than sell their home or give it to some member of the family, that they would like to use it for a studies center for students who are constantly going down to the border."

Jones said though the plans for the center aren't finalized, the college is already gathering input from the Nogales community.

Some ideas for the project include a classroom and seminar space available to UA students and faculty who just so happen to be studying in the area.

Jones said the center will be managed by the college itself.

"We also plan on putting a UA library outlet there," Jones said. "Instead of students and community members who are in Nogales who want to come up and make use of the UA library, they can do that right there from Nogales."

Jones said community members are excited about the project, specifically the potential to have access to a UA library. Nogales resident Kip Martin, who also lives on Crawford St., said the project is something the city needs.

"We're a very good community that's gotten a lot of really negative light," said Martin. "So, anything that we can do to showcase our ability, of which there are considerable, we look forward to and we really support it."

As far as funding goes, Jones said the college would have to raise money for renovations on their own.

Jones said the home will need to undergo construction and said expenses are expected to be around $500,000.

"We're going to have to get creative with how we raise money," Jones said. "That's not something we're going to take from the state's budget or anything like that. That's money that we're going to have to raise through private donations."

Jones said the college has also been working closely with city officials as well.

"I'm really excited about partnering with the Nogales community on both sides of the border," Jones said. "It's a great opportunity for the University of Arizona to showcase the kind of work that it does."

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