University Regents adopt $300 million in capital improvement plans

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ELKO - Nevada university regents have approved a list of building projects totaling more than $300 million even though they acknowledged the best they can hope for from the governor and Legislature is less than half that.

And Regent Steve Sisolak objected to including $44 million worth of construction for the proposed Nevada State College in Henderson among the top priorities, saying that would effectively prevent other campuses from getting badly needed projects.

"If you take the first $160 million worth of state money, over 25 percent of it is going to Henderson," said Sisolak. "How can we say this is not going to take a bite out of the other institutions?"

The money for Henderson would fund a $26 million classroom and student services facility and $17.5 million of a $27.5 million library project.

"I was under the impression, going way back, we kept talking about all this private money, private money, private money," said Sisolak. "I'm not seeing all this private money; I'm seeing a request for $44 million in state money."

He said there are 20,000 existing students at UNLV who badly need student services and other facilities.

Regent Tom Kirkpatrick agreed, saying UNLV students should not wait for services while a new college gets its building requests put among the top priorities.

Outgoing chancellor Tom Anderes and the presidents of the state's universities and colleges said the priorities were worked out among them. They would prefer to stick to their list, they said, than get into competition with each other.

A majority of regents agreed, approving the proposed list without modification.

Western Nevada Community College is No. 6 on the list with $5.9 million for expansion of the Fallon classroom building to meet growing demand.

The biggest northern project is a new UNR library at $66 million. UNR President Joe Crowley has commitments to raise $44 million of that total from other sources, so it would cost the state $22 million.

The top priority on the list is build out and furnishings for buildings at WNCC, Desert research Institute, Community College of Southern Nevada and the Redfield campus in south Reno. Those projects will take $11.9 million, $9.4 million of it state dollars.

Next on the list is $9 million in planning money for what will eventually be a $75 million science and engineering complex at UNLV, followed by $25 million for a CCSN health science complex and $11.5 million for a Truckee Meadows Community College student services building.

WNCC's electrical tech center is No. 10 on the list at $5 million.

University officials expect about $130 million from the 2001 Legislature. If that is the cutoff, everything from the WNCC tech center down would have to wait until the next biennium using the list as approved. If the Nevada State College projects were removed from the list, that amount of state funding would allow four more projects.

Regent Howard Rosenberg said, however, lawmakers pushing for the Henderson state college were urged not to let that proposal hurt the funding needed for existing campuses.

We were assured at the time that they would do everything they possibly could to make sure we got the extra money we needed," he said. "I think that agreement still stands."


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