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Archive for Thursday, June 21, 2012

Regents support additional space in KU engineering classroom building

June 21, 2012

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— The Kansas Board of Regents on Thursday supported increasing the expansion of the Kansas University School of Engineering.

In 2011, Gov. Sam Brownback and the Legislature approved a bill authorizing KU to issue $65 million in bonds to build a 100,000-square-foot engineering classroom building.

The measure was part of a wider effort at KU, Kansas State and Wichita State to increase the number of engineering graduates in Kansas from approximately 875 a year currently to 1,365 a year by 2021.

KU came back to the regents on Thursday requesting an increase in the building project by $15 million, bringing the total expenditure to $80 million. KU plans to pay for the project through its share of gambling revenues and other revenue funds within the university. Under another bill in 2011, Brownback and the Legislature set aside state gambling revenues so that KU, KSU and WSU would each get $3.5 million annually for the engineering initiative.

The increased building pricetag will cover the cost of an additional 29,000 square feet to accommodate the space needs of new faculty who the school must hire to meet the projected growth in student enrollment and research programs, KU said.

In October, KU officials told the regents that the Engineering School was projecting a 60 percent growth in undergraduate programs and its classrooms and labs were already at capacity.

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