I am pleased to provide testimony to the General Assembly for our FY 2021 capital budget request. We greatly appreciate the General Assembly’s ongoing support of our capital requests, which is transforming our campus and the state’s economy. Together, we are constructing the state’s future. The University deeply appreciates all that your support makes possible.
We have four projects in our capital request this year. Three projects will provide new or improved space that significantly enhances the University’s research, education, and innovation capabilities. Much of the work in these facilities will contribute to the state’s skilled workforce and its knowledge economy. The fourth project will replace failing infrastructure and help prevent major service interruptions, improve safety and reduce ongoing maintenance costs.
As in previous projects, the cutting-edge research and education these buildings support may translate into new private sector and federal partnerships. For example, the University is now a major innovation hub in fields such as quantum computing—greatly enhanced by the General Assembly’s previous capital support. These facilities will have a similar magnetic effect attracting talent and investment to spur innovation in the fields of energy, sustainability, health and philanthropy.
This year’s projects are all the more critical because facilities renewal needs and space shortages remain our greatest long-term programmatic and fiscal challenges.
Facilities Renewal Needs. We have an estimated facilities renewal need of over $1 billion on our main campus: $0.75 billion for the 8 million GSF of state-supported buildings and $0.3 billion for the exterior infrastructure such as roads, sidewalks and underground utilities. We are addressing the most critical needs through ten-year CIP and institutional facilities renewal plans. One of this year’s projects, for example, seeks to renovate and replace portions of the Chemistry Building, a facility in very poor condition. We are also requesting $10M to renew failing infrastructure. In some notable cases we have lost major faculty because of sub-par conditions.
Space Shortages. Based on state formulas, we currently have a shortage of 1.5M NASF of state-supported space which is 28 percent of our existing inventory of about 5.5M NASF. Roughly one half of this shortfall (0.7M NASF) is in research space. These space shortages are very significant and of great concern. Details regarding our space shortages are attached.
The projects recommended for funding this year are critically needed to help address both our space renewal and space shortage problems. The projects will also help advance the state’s strategic goals for the economy and workforce, as well as the 55 percent college completion goal.
Download Capital Budget Testimony FY2021 Request (PDF)
Response to DLS question regarding FY2021 capital budget (PDF)