State Relations

House Capital Budget Strong for UW

The 2007-09 capital budget spending plan released by the House of Representatives today in Olympia generally follows Governor Gregoire’s proposed capital budget recommendations for the University of Washington.  With this level of state capital funding, the House budget dramatically reverses a multi-year trend of reduced state support for the University’s building program.

The proposed capital spending plan crafted by committee chairman Rep. Bill Fromhold (D-Vancouver) includes $145 million in new state funding for UW construction projects. This is almost twice the total amount of state capital support the University received in the current biennial capital budget and represents the highest level of support for UW capital in ten years.

Restore the Core: The UW’s “Restore the Core” package of requests to renovate historic capital buildings on the Seattle campus is funded with $94 million in new state capital appropriations. This includes full funding of construction for Savery Hall, Clark Hall, Playhouse Theater and Magnuson H-Wing (also received $3.0 million from local funds). In addition, full funding for planning and design is provided for the next phase of restoration projects including Balmer Hall, Lewis Hall and Denny Hall.

Data Center: The budget provides $25.0 million to construct a new primary Data Center in the UW Tower and to provide ongoing campus computing and communications infrastructure and connectivity. Interdisciplinary Academic Building: $5.0 million is provided for pre-design and design for a new facility that will enable significant advances in the UW’s molecular engineering program.

UW Tacoma Phase 3: $6.2 million is provided for pre-design and design for major renovation of the Joy Building, including the addition of a fourth floor. This will provide nearly 70,000 square feet of additional classroom and faculty office space.

UW Bothell Phase 3: One disappointment in the House Democrats capital budget proposal was the decsion to fund only pre-design for the UW Bothell Phase 3 expansion for a multi-purpose academic building to accommodate a capacity increase of at least 600 student FTE’s.  Design funding of $4.85 million was eliminated and would instead be funded in the 2009-11 biennium.

Intermediate Student Service and Classroom Improvements: The House capital budget provides full funding of the University’s $15 million request to continue renovation of general assignment classrooms on the Seattle campus, consolidate and modernize space for Student Services programs and provide classroom space for the WWAMI/RIDE medical and dental expansion.

Minor Works Threshhold:  The House Capital Budget increases the threshhold for higher education minor works projects from $1 million to $2 million.  Higher education institutions had sought an increase in the threshhold to $3 million but the proposed language in the House budget is an improvement over the current limit. Space Utilization Study:  The House capital budget calls for a new study of higher education space utilization that should provide a more balanced way of measuring the efficiency of space use across the many different kinds of higher education institutions in the state.

Cost Allocation Pools:  A total of $5 million is provided to the Office of Financial Management to assist colleges and universities with unanticipated cost escalation on construction projects during the 2007-09 biennium.  Funds must be matched from non-state resources up to $750,000.