Covering Frankfort

Feb 20, 2013 6:44 PM

Legislature Gives Final OK To University Projects

FRANKFORT (AP) - The state Legislature on Wednesday gave final approval for a $110 million renovation of the University of Kentucky's Commonwealth Stadium.

The House voted 95-0 for the measure that allows six of the state's public universities to spend $363 million on construction projects.

The Senate voted overwhelmingly earlier Wednesday to approve the measure. Gov. Steve Beshear is expected to sign it into law Thursday. It was the first bill passed in the current legislative session.

The top selling points for the proposal are that the projects will be paid for by the universities without any General Fund money and that they will create more than 5,000 construction jobs.

The final bill included an amendment that barred universities from raising tuition to pay for the construction projects.

Sen. John Schickel, R Boone, was the only senator to vote 'no' in the Senate. He said after the vote that the public universities shouldn't be spending more money without decreasing tuition.

"There's plenty of property they can rent," he said. "If they have the money to afford bonding, they need to be reducing tuition."

The biggest expenditures in the legislation, besides the stadium, include $100 million to construct a science building at UK that would be paid for partially from athletics revenue and $40 million to renovate the Gatton College of Business and Economics.

Northern Kentucky University would renovate the Albright Health Center at a cost of $45 million and purchase and renovate a residence hall for $12 million.

Western Kentucky University would build a $22 million Honors College and International Center. Murray State University would get a $9.9 million dormitory renovation, plus spend more than $5 million for various campus improvements, including a sprinkler system upgrade.

The University of Louisville would renovate the Student Activities Center for $9.6 million. And Morehead State University would undertake a $9.2 million renovation of the Mignon Hall dormitory.


The legislation is House Bill 7.

(Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)


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