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Capital Budget Testimony 2017

I am pleased to provide testimony to the General Assembly for our FY 2018 capital budget request. We greatly appreciate the General Assembly’s ongoing support of our capital requests, which is having a transformative impact on our campus and the state’s economy.

Each of the three ongoing construction projects described in this testimony will significantly enhance the University’s research, education, and innovation capabilities.  Much of the work in these new facilities will contribute to the state’s skilled workforce and its knowledge economy.

It is important to note that major gifts have leveraged each of these projects, significantly extending the value of the state’s investment. Careful design has maximized efficiency. The donors are quite eager to see these projects concluded on schedule.  Student and faculty anticipation is high, as well. 

As in previous construction projects, the cutting-edge research and education these buildings support may translate into new private sector and federal partnerships.  The University is now a major innovation hub in fields such as quantum computing—greatly enhanced by the General Assembly’s previous capital support—and these new facilities under construction will have a similar magnetic effect in areas such as virtual reality and medical device development.

Thanks to your support, these projects continue to advance, their promise growing more evident with each passing day.  We are partners with the General Assembly in constructing the state’s future.  The University deeply appreciates all that your support makes possible.

The ongoing construction projects are all the more critical because space renewal and space shortages remain our greatest long-term programmatic and fiscal challenges.

Space Renewal.  In 2015, we completed a facilities audit and updated our estimated deferred maintenance backlog to be $907M.  This included $738M for our state-supported buildings and $169M for exterior infrastructure such as roads, sidewalks, exterior lighting and underground utilities.  One-sixth of the space in our major state-supported buildings was deemed in poor condition, one-half in fair condition and one-third is in good condition.  We are addressing the spaces deemed in poor condition through a ten-year CIP and institutional facilities renewal plans.  Improvements to Cole Field House, a building that was deemed to be in poor condition, are now underway and continued funding for this is in our FY 2018 CIP request.  Of our state-supported space (5.4M NASF), one-third (1.6M NASF) has not had major renovation in more than 40 years.  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 1.7M NASF of state-supported space.  A large portion of this shortfall (0.9M NASF) is in research space.  With an existing inventory of about 5.4M NASF of state-supported space, these space shortages are very significant.  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 55 percent college completion goal and the State’s strategic goals for the economy and workforce, in particular in the STEM fields.

Full testimony available here: