By: Sam Allen, Extreme Alaska
Sen. Johnny Ellis, D-Anchorage proposed bill SB40, which would provide the remaining funding necessary tofinish construction of new engineering buildings on UAF and UAA campuses. SB40 would appropriate $106.9 million, with $47.3 million going to the UAF building.
UAF Chancellor, Brian Rogers, told the Senate Education Committee in early February, “Absent an appropriation this year, we would have to stop work for a period of time. An appropriation would allow us to continue work and keep us on track.”
The legislature passed the bill and the Senate Education Committee advanced SB40 to the Senate Finance Committee, where it is currently pending. You can follow the progress of the bill at, http://legiscan.com/AK/bill/SB40.
Rogers was quoted by the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner in early February saying, “We began work right away when we warded the phase on contract, began relocating utilities in October and we have groundbreaking scheduled for March 1.” March 1st has come and gone and the ground of the East Bunnell parking lot where the proposed building will be constructed remains unbroken.
University of Alaska President Pat Gamble told the Fairbanks Daily-News Miner at the end of February that if funding is approved, he is uncertain of what will happen. He said the university might initiate construction in anticipation of more funding or wait for more funding and endure the rising construction prices.
The affects of federal funding due to sequestration only add to the uncertainty of future projects at UAF.
The funding for the engineering buildings will be up to the legislature and didn’t include the buildings in his $1.8 capital budget, said Gov. Sean Parnell.
There is an Engineering Facility Construction Information Open House on Wednesday, to address future plans and what to expect during construction. The open house will be on March 6, 2013 at 3:30 p.m. in the Schaible Auditorium on the UAF campus.