UA Fairbanks short of money for new engineering building, may see gap in construction schedule


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FAIRBANKS, Alaska — Construction of a new engineering building at the University of Alaska Fairbanks may stop for two months next year as officials wait for another infusion of cash from the Alaska Legislature.

Lawmakers this session approved $5 million this session for the building. It will take another $28.5 million to complete the building, UAF spokeswoman Marmian Grimes said.

The money in hand should allow construction through April, Grimes told the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner (http://bit.ly/1n7zn5K ). The project would then shut down until July 1, when the next round of possible legislative funding would become available.

"We still need $28.5 million, and nothing has changed from the end of the Legislature," she said.

The decision to appropriate just $5 million was debated in the legislature and was made in deference to finishing another UAF project, a power plant.

Senate Finance Committee Co-chairman Kevin Meyer, R-Anchorage, who oversees the capital budget in the Senate, has pushed for the state to finish projects before it begins new ones. However, he said he was persuaded by university officials and Finance Committee Co-chairman Pete Kelly, R-Fairbanks, that a greater need for UAF was the power plant.

Meyer said during deliberations that money was included in the budget to enclose the engineering building, allowing it to be set aside until the power plant was finished.

University leaders are looking for ways to keep construction moving during May and June 2015, Grimes said.

"They're looking for solutions, and it may be the bonding authority," she said, then added with a laugh, "or maybe someone decided to give us a gift to get us through it."


Information from: Fairbanks (Alaska) Daily News-Miner, http://www.newsminer.com

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