What the city first tried with garbage the University may now try with some trash of its own. The University is considering its own run at privatization by selling all three High Rises to private investors, according a report obtained by The Daily Pennsylvanian. The report, written by Vice Provost for University Life Kim Morrisson, outlines a proposal to sell the buildings for $7 million each in an effort to eliminate the University's $19.5 million deficit. "We knew they were a mistake to begin with," Morrisson said last night of the three concrete structures that dominate Superblock. "But we thought we'd be able to stand them longer than this." Morrisson said that several developers are interested in the property but would not give any further details about the plan. But Michael Karp, owner of University City Housing and one of the area's top slumlords, said he is very interested in talking to University officials about buying the buildings. "They're nicer than anything I own," said Karp, whose holdings include Hamilton Court and dozens of student-occupied houses in the area. "The only drawbacks are the elevators, which never seem to be working, and the cardboard walls. "But for $21 million, they'd have to throw in Hill House, too," he added. Both Karp and Morrisson stressed that students would still be able to call the 24-story, broken-down monstrosities their homes away from home -- and at markedly reduced rent. "Thank God," said Engineering junior Eric Grasser, who has lived in the same miserable High Rise South room for the past three years. "I couldn't bear the thought of having to move off campus. It's not safe out there, you know. Here we have round-the-clock security guards to protect us." President Sheldon Hackney said last night that in addition to reducing the University's budget shortfall, the proposed High Rise sale would help Residential Living avoid an impending budget crunch. But he added that he personally had been in favor of blasting the hell out of them. "It doesn't matter who owns them, I can still see the damn things from my bedroom window," Hackney said, his southern twang twanging away. "But maybe not for long...um...I mean, well...ha ha ha ha." One casualty of the sale would be Residential Living Director Gigi Simeone. Morrisson said Simeone's job responsibilities would be reduced so that she could concentrate on running the Quad mail room and keeping McGinn security guards on their toes. Simeone took the news in stride last night, adding that she would "look into the problem by the end of the semester."Comments powered by Disqus
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