Legislature rejects funding on engineering building

Julie Herrmann/Sun Star Reporter
April 23, 2013

UAF and UAA received partial funding from the Alaska State Legislature for new engineering buildings May 14.

On March 30, UAF held a groundbreaking ceremony for their new facility, located between Duckering and Bunnell buildings, despite still needing $48.3 million, which had been requested from the state along with a similar amount for UAA’s engineering building. When the Senate Finance Committee released its capital budget five days later, it did not include any money for either building. On April 14, the Senate added $15 million for UAF and $15 million for UAA into the budget, passed the budget and adjourned, the Anchorage Daily News reported.

After the last-minute additional funding, UAF needs $33.6 million to finish the building. State funding and a revenue bond cover the rest of the $108.6 million cost. Finance Co-Chairman Kevin Meyer said that everyone supports the new buildings but they simply couldn’t add enough money, over $100 million, to finish both buildings, the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reported.

Senior Project Manager Cameron Wohlford said that even without the $15 million, UAF had enough money to get the facility enclosed, dry and warm. Construction completion is expected by March 2015, according to Jenith Flynn, Marketing Coordinator for Davis Constructors and Engineers, the Anchorage-based company hired to build the facility. A ribbon cutting is scheduled for July 3, 2015 with the building opening for the Fall semester, according to the construction timeline on the College of Engineering and Mines’ website.

But without the remaining funding, the building will likely be delayed. “This means that construction … will shut down when the current funding runs out, probably by the end of the year,” stated The Capital Report, a University of Alaska publication that provides information to UA supporters about university budget issues and legislation. This was published before UAF was given the additional funding. “We’re assessing what we can do with the $15 million,” Wohlford said. UAF plans to put the remaining $33.3 million in their 2015 budget request from the state Legislature.

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