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UT TOWER; Regrettably, finances are too tight for a reopening

In the best of all worlds, it would be possible to support efforts to reopen the Spanish Baroque tower on the University of Texas at Austin campus for use by visitors.

Regrettably, this is far from the best of all worlds, particularly regarding funding for public education in Texas. UT administrators are right to conclude that costs for such an endeavor, as appealing as it may seem, make it prohibitive for the university to undertake. Public education finances are simply too tight to justify any university outlay for the project.

The 302-foot tower, symbolic of the university, has been closed to all but a select few visitors since the mid-1970s, when several people jumped to their deaths from it. Nine years earlier, the tower had been the setting for a shooting rampage in which sniper Charles Whitman killed 14.

Plans have been drafted to open the floor below the observation deck for use by visitors, while keeping the deck area itself closed. The renovation is estimated to cost from $ 88,000 to $ 150,000.

This may not be an enormous amount, but at a time when every dime counts in the university's budget, it cannot be spared.

It has been a pity that it has been necessary through the years to keep the tower closed to the public. The idea of being able to view a burnt-orange sunset from the tower has an undeniable appeal. Perhaps, if the necessary funding and arrangements could be accomplished privately, there may be a way to once again allow visitors the pleasures of the panoramic views offered from the tower.

Houston Chronicle. March 31, 1993.
Article by: Staff

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3 May 1999
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