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Archive for Wednesday, June 2, 1993

UNIVERSITY BUILDING PLANS OUTPACE FUNDING

June 2, 1993

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Administrators of the state's six Board of Regents universities could write a book about their ideas for constructing or renovating campus buildings.

The current wish list for fiscal years 1995-99 contains $210 million in projects.

The catch is there would be a maximum of $90 million available for the projects from the state's tax-supported Educational Building Fund.

"You don't have to be too good at math to know we're short," Warren Corman, director of facilities for the the Board of Regents, said today.

Last month, the board appointed a task force to study the issue. Task force members will meet with legislators and state budget analysts to develop a long-term strategy for financing major campus projects.

The university system's building and renovation money crunch doesn't stop with the shortfall in the building fund, Corman said.

He said the task force would consider the need for an additional $25 million to bring the state university campuses in compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act.

In addition, a state fire marshal's report indicates $8 million in fire safety adjustments were required on the six campuses. About $3.4 million would be needed for Kansas University's main campus in Lawrence.

"Every building had something. There was nothing there life-threatening," Corman said.

He said the recommended modifications included emergency lighting, fire walls, lightning rods and smoke alarms.

University officials also are conducting a study of the quality of the 700 classrooms in the regents' system; the study is expected to be completed in July. Minimal improvements to classroom space would cost $3-5 million, he said.

Corman said the Legislature couldn't afford to finance all the work.

"The bottom line is the requests from the institutions add up to a lot more than what the EBF can provide," he said.

He said funding must be secured from federal and private sources.

"We'll have to do everything possible. We need a mix of federal, state and private," he said.

Corman said KU Chancellor Gene Budig and the presidents of the five other universities could be asked to raise as much as half the cost of their major campus projects in the future.

"Chancellor Budig has done a good job raising money. Some campuses haven't gotten into it as much as KU's endowment," he said.

In fiscal 1995, KU's highest priority is construction of a $9.9 million addition to Murphy Hall. At KU Medical Center, the top priority is an $11 million nurse education building.

Regent Frank Sabatini, a member of the task force studying building construction issues, said university officials should consider renovating existing buildings before launching ambitious new building projects.

"We don't need new buildings we can't afford," he said.

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