Regents considering $550M construction projects request

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The Nevada university system's eight campuses have asked the Board of Regents for $550 million for construction for the next two-year budget.

The Board of Regents Finance and Budget subcommittee took its first look at the list last week. Chancellor Jane Nichols told members it is more than the system can get from existing funding.

"We anticipate the maximum money available under the bonding capacity of the state will be about $150 million," she said. "UCCSN in a good year gets two-thirds of that. In an average year, half."

But she and the committee pointed out this is just the first step of several before the final capital improvement request is presented to the full board of regents in June then sent to the governor and Legislature.

Nichols said with double-digit growth of student numbers throughout the state, the needs are actually much more than the request.

"I want you to understand how much we are going to be falling behind under the current funding mechanism of the state," she said.

The top five projects requested by Nevada's two universities, the state college in Henderson, Desert Research Institute and the four community colleges total $447 million. Of that, $300 million would be state funds and the rest from student fees, grants and other sources.

Committee chairman regent Mark Alden said regents and campus administrators should look for alternatives that will increase their buying power, including public-private partnerships and lease-purchase agreements.

The Reno campus is seeking the most money in its top-five priorities for the next biennium and asking for $97.5 million in state funds. But President John Lilley quickly pointed out UNR is adding $149 million to the total in other funds, including federal money, grants and private donations.

UNR's top priority will be the $16 million needed to furnish and finish a new library, construction of which starts this year. Altogether, that structure will end up costing $80 million, including more than $20 million in private donations and $20 million in student fees.

The UNR list also includes $26.1 million in state dollars and $14 million in other funds for a laundry list of health-safety, infrastructure, remodeling and other such projects and $50 million in total funding for a new Science and Math Education Center.

The final two projects on UNR's list are the Bio-Tech and Genomics Teaching/Research Facility - $70 million - and the $70 million Academic Medical Center - the Las Vegas facility for the School of Medicine. The Bio-Tech center, however, requires only $10.4 million in state funds. The remaining $60 million is in grants and other funding.

UNLV's top priority, like UNR, is also funding to finish a project: A new engineering complex costing a total of $75 million. President Carol Harter said they need the final $12 million for furnishings, fittings and equipment.

UNLV also wants $18.1 million for the proposed Greenspun College of Urban Affairs, which the Greenspun Foundation will pump up to a total of $30 million if the project is among the system's top priorities.

A student services addition for $9.5 million, sprinklers for the existing education building at $1.8 million, and campus infrastructure improvements totaling $7.9 million round out the list for a total of $44 million in state funds, $55 million overall.

Western Nevada Community College has a $13.9 million list - all of it state funds. Nearly all of it - $13.3 million - is for disabled access, safety projects and rural health education expansion. A Health Education Center project for $377,466 and planning money for a new theater-auditorium at $225,338 complete WNCC's list.

Community College of Southern Nevada requested $67.9 million for the next two years - all state money. The top five projects are $5.2 million to furnish and equip the Health Services building, $25 million for a Campus Learning Center and classrooms, $5.7 million for infrastructure and code- compliance problems, $20 million for an automotive technology building and $12 million for a Pahrump educational complex.

Truckee Meadows Community College is seeking a total of $26.2 million, including two projects totaling $19.4 million for the Red Mountain Building, a multi-purpose building at $2.8 million to serve both TMCC and DRI next door, $2.8 million in parking and roadwork and $1.16 million in information technology.

Great Basin College is asking for $26.1 million, all but $1 million in state money. The list is $7.1 million for an Electrical/Industrial Technology building, $3 million for an addition to the college's fitness and community center, $7 million for a Fine Arts/Classroom building, $2 million for additions to campus space in Ely and Winnemucca and a $7 million classroom building.

DRI's list totals $21 million, including $18 million in state money. Of the total, $15.47 million, including all $3 million in non-state funds, would go into an Automated Visual Environment facility designed to allow massive and detailed computer simulations for researchers. Planning for a Science Education and Tech Center would cost $2.82 million, and $1.79 million would go toward planning a Southern Nevada Science Center.

DRI also wants $8,980,000 to make repairs to its Boulder City facility.

The fledgling Nevada State College in Henderson is seeking $8 million - all of it state funding.

The projects are $2.5 million to furnish and finish its liberal arts building, $3 million to buy and $1.5 million to renovate the Dawson Building, and $1 million to plan a Nursing and Science Building.

Contact Geoff Dornan at or 687-8750.

Kurt Hildebrand 2/20/04 Not sure I care that much about Great Basin, DRI or Community College of Southern Nevada


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