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Archive for Saturday, August 11, 2001

Senator supports funding research facilities at KU

August 11, 2001

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— A powerful lawmaker will support a proposal to build new research facilities at Kansas University and other schools.

Senate President Dave Kerr, R-Hutchinson, said in late July that he supports efforts by the Kansas Board of Regents to have the state issue $110 million in bonds for construction.

Kerr told reporters he predicted it would receive favorable attention from the Legislature.

The state needs to help public universities try to get more research grants, he said.

And in a year that promises to feature a tight budget, lawmakers need to move forward on "creative ideas."

Under the proposal, the state would issue $110 million in 20-year bonds.

The state would make the first five years' payments on the bonds; the host university would be responsible for the next 15 years.

The proposal assumes the universities' payments would be covered by research grants made possible by the new buildings.

The short list

A tentative list of building projects includes:

$65 million for a bio-medical and life-science research building at Kansas University Medical Center.

$42 million for a food safety facility at Kansas State University.

$10 million for an engineering studies structure at Wichita State University.

Plans are in the works to introduce the proposal during the 2002 legislative session.

Other lawmakers have noted that other state legislatures are getting involved in helping capture research dollars.

Earlier this year, U.S. Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kansas, warned officials that without major improvements in the state's research infrastructure, millions of dollars in federal grants would bypass Kansas.

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