Bond Proposal Could Create Funding for New Science Building
Contact: Jeff Murphy
WARRENSBURG, MO (March 13, 2009) – Proposed legislation to establish a bonding fund for capital improvement projects on Missouri college and university campuses could mean a new science building for UCM.
The bi-partisan legislation, known as House Joint Resolution 32, is being sponsored by Representatives Chris Kelly, D-Columbia, and Steven Tilley, R-Perryville. It would create the Fifth State Building Fund as a mechanism for the state to issue $700 million in revenue bonds that would enable public colleges and universities to meet top building priorities. Institutions will use these funds to help construct facilities to educate future nurses, automotive technicians, engineers, scientists and others around the state, according to the Missouri Department of Higher Education.
Meets Need Outlined in New Campus Master Plan
UCM President Aaron Podolefsky said he was pleased the bond proposal is being considered.
“We adopted a new campus master plan in January that serves as a strategic guide for meeting our facilities needs. The number one priority identified in the plan is a new science building, consistent with our quality programs. If approved, this initiative will allow us to expedite this much-needed project,” Podolefsky said.
According to the master plan, the new science building would be located west of the James C. Kirkpatrick Library. This would create a new quadrangle on the south side of campus. The architectural firm which worked on the master plan with a cross-section of campus and community constituents has indicated that it would be more cost-effective in the long-term to build a new facility than to perform the upgrades needed in the Morris Building to meet existing and future academic needs.
Timing is Important
“There’s never been a better time to issue bonds,” Kelly said in a press release from the Missouri Department of Higher Education. “The need is undeniable, contractors are hungry and interest rates are low. We can generate good-paying jobs in every corner of the state.”
MDHE noted that the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act includes a provision that would allow use of federal economic stimulus funds to pay 35 percent of the interest on the bonds.
Proposal Still Must Complete the Legislative Process
HJR 32 still has to continue through the legislative process to become a reality. The next step is assignment to a House committee. If it is approved by the General Assembly and signed by the governor, Missouri voters would have an opportunity to cast their ballots in favor or against the matter in November 2010.