Gov. Bill Graves wants to put $3 million into a building for the Robert J. Dole Institute for Public Service and Public Policy at Kansas University.
A proposed facility on Kansas University's West Campus to house former U.S. Sen. Bob Dole's official papers and be a research institute for good government got a boost Thursday from Gov. Bill Graves.
At a reception for Dole in Overland Park, Graves announced he would recommend the Kansas Legislature appropriate $3 million for the institute.
Graves said the money will be included in his budget message Monday to the Legislature in Topeka.
"I think it will be well-received," Graves said in an interview with the Journal-World.
The governor said the funding "is only going to be a piece of the financial puzzle that makes the Dole center a reality."
KU Chancellor Robert Hemenway is also working on raising private funds for the building, which is expected to cost about $6 million to $7 million.
"I have been in discussion with the chancellor at great lengths about his efforts at private donations for the Dole center," Graves said.
The $3 million is earmarked out of the one-time Western Resources tax payment of $66.7 million to the state, Graves said.
"All the one-time money ought to be designated for one-time purposes, and this is an excellent example of that," he said.
The governor's announcement "is a very positive event for the Dole Institute," Hemenway said.
"We're very pleased and heartened by the governor's recommendation," he said. "This initiative grows out of the governor's desire for the state to be able to show its appreciation to Senator Dole and to be a part of a project that will not only house Senator Dole's papers but would be a contributor to good government to the state of Kansas."
Efforts to raise private funds for the project are ongoing.
"We have raised over $2 million. We have strong hopes of being able to raise even more," he said.
The institute, although without a building of its own, is already operating at KU. Dole's 3,500 archival boxes of papers are at KU's Spencer Research Library. The archivist for the material is Brian Culp. Burdett Loomis, a KU professor of political science and government, is the acting director.
No architectural drawings have been made yet of the building.
"By the end of this year, I would hope we would have our plans complete so we could begin construction," Hemenway said.
During a visit Thursday to Tonganoxie, Dole was asked what he thought of Graves' funding proposal for the institute bearing his name.
"It's not for Bob Dole," Dole said. "It's for the students. "I don't need any buildings. Hopefully, it can do somebody some good."
Dole said he hoped students would be able to use his papers as a resource.
"I said from the beginning that I wanted half of the money raised in the private sector. There won't be any federal funds going toward it," Dole said.
-- Dave Toplikar's phone message number is 832-7151. His e-mail address is email@example.com.