Yesterday, Governor Inslee unveiled his supplemental budget proposal, which the state legislature will vote on in January’s legislative session. The Governor’s proposal includes a number of important investments in the University of Washington’s mission to serve the public good through healthcare and education, as well as helping us to reduce our carbon footprint. We’re grateful for this forward-looking proposal that promises to benefit our students and the public we serve.
Among the key provisions in the proposed budget is a $50 million investment in UW Medicine to support critical safety net care, medical training, and other services at UW Medical Center and Harborview Medical Center, funding that will help these vital hospitals address increasing labor costs and prevent harmful service reductions. The budget also includes funding for patient care at the planned 150-bed behavioral health teaching facility at the UW Medical Center-Northwest Campus. And it expands the UW School of Dentistry’s nationally renowned Regional Initiatives in Dental Education (RIDE) program, based in Spokane, which trains dentists to meet the needs of our state’s rural and underserved populations. The new funding will double the number of students in the program from 32 to 64.
In addition to these investments in critical healthcare, Governor Inslee’s budget would provide more permanent funding for the Paul G. Allen School of Computer Science & Engineering Startup Program to help meet student demand for more CSE degrees. The proposal also contains funding to make badly-needed updates to our chemistry lab and health sciences facilities in Bagley Hall. Providing a world-class STEM education in these high-demand fields requires learning and teaching facilities and equipment that support interdisciplinary, modern science education and research — this funding will help us meet that important standard.
Finally, the Governor’s budget proposal funds five projects that support ongoing energy renewal and decarbonization efforts across all three campuses and UW Medicine facilities, including improvement to the Seattle campus’ centralized chilled water capacity, improvements to the UW Bothell Central Plant, replacing the gas boilers on both the Bothell and Tacoma campuses, a renewal of the UWMC Montlake Campus HVAC systems and planning for improvements to the UWMC NW Campus Central Utility Plant. All of these projects are foundational to the University’s clean energy strategy to fully decarbonize the Seattle campus and reduce our overall energy consumption.
As a public University that serves our students, our state and the world, we are grateful for investments like these that fuel our public mission to advance health, education, discovery and workforce development, now, and for generations to come.