PULLMAN, Wash. – Washington State University would receive funding for three capital projects as part of Gov. Gary Locke’s supplemental budget proposal announced Thursday (Dec. 18). Increased money for instruction and research was also included.
WSU would be allocated $6.65 million for the Spokane Academic Center Building. In its supplemental capital budget request, the university asked for $20 million for the Spokane campus building, which would supply needed classroom and library spaces for the continued growth of the campus.
“While we appreciate the governor’s attention to WSU’s capital funding proposals, we hope that more money can be found during the legislative process to move the Spokane Academic Center forward. It is an important project both for the university and for the city of Spokane,” said Karl Boehmke, WSU’s executive budget director.
Boehmke said the governor’s recommendation would pay for site work and the foundation, with the balance of the building being completed next biennium. The university had hoped to receive $20 million so that the shell of the building could be completed this biennium and the building completed by fall 2006.
The governor’s budget proposal also allocates the $3.4 million requested by the university to fund a wastewater reclamation project for the Pullman campus. Wastewater effluent would be treated, filtered and recycled by the proposed plant. This is the first phase of a $12.7 million project designed to conserve and reuse water and protect the aquifer.
Under the governor’s budget plan, the university also would receive $6 million for WSU Net to fund necessary improvements to the university’s high-tech infrastructure.
In the supplemental operating budget, the governor’s plan would allocate $1.5 million to WSU on a matching basis to attract and retain federal research grants.
“We are pleased that the governor has recognized in this proposal that making investments in higher education research can yield real benefits to the state,” Boehmke said.
The budget would also provide $1.4 million in funding to expand state-supported general enrollment at WSU by about 288 students. This would allow WSU to serve some students who might otherwise have been denied enrollment.
Last month, the Boards of Regents of WSU and the University of Washington approved a resolution to cap freshman and transfer enrollments until new state money was allocated to support more students.
The budget plan puts $10 million in additional funding into a pool to support academic programs that are in particularly high demand. WSU would apply for a portion of this pool.