Governor Doug Ducey and University of Arizona President Dr. Robert Robbins attended the ground breaking ceremony for the Veterinary Science and Microbiology Building, or Building 90 on Wednesday, Oct. 4. It is the first building to undergo renovations with funds allocated to UA from the state, Ducey said.
The university has been granted $400 million out of $1 billion set aside by the state for building renovations and constructing new facilities. The money will be given to the UA starting in the fiscal year 2017-18 through the fiscal year 2030-31.
“The University of Arizona will receive approximately $400 million, with half of that going toward Building 90 and eight other existing buildings on campus,” Ducey said. “The other half will go toward two new, cutting-edge research facilities focused on physical sciences, engineering, bio-engineering, bio-science, and biomedicine.”
Ducey sees the money as a sign of legislative success. “In this last session, we were able to pass a $1 billion bonding package so that projects like this can go forward as necessary,” Ducey said.
The bonding package — otherwise known as House Bill 2547, was signed by Ducey in May and distributes $1 billion over time to the three universities for infrastructure projects. The goal of House Bill 2547 is to invest in higher education, according to Ducey.
“We want the universities in our state to stay cutting-edge,” he said. “So you ... attract the finest professors, leaders and students from around the country.”
Robbins sees the UA furthering its goals with the funds allocated to it from the state. “I think the University of Arizona, with its land-grant mission, is poised to use these funds to be good stewards of the funds that the taxpayers of this state entrusted in us," Robbins said.
The UA will invest $18 million for Building 90 restorations, according to the press release. That number actually indicates big savings, according to Bob Smith, the vice president for Planning, Design, and Operations.
“This renovation costs less than half of the cost of building a new building of the same size,” he said. “So we can stretch our funds that much farther and provide so much more research space, and protect [the] investment that the state’s made over the years.”
Built in 1966, Building 90 is one of the oldest research facilities on campus, and in "dire need" of renovations, according to Robbins.
“I would say it’s a patient on life support,” Robbins said. “So, we’re going to get the opportunity with the investments in it.”
The Arizona Legislative Joint Committee on Capital Review approved the renovation on Sept. 19, 2017, according to the press release. Since then, the UA has been working on Building 90.
“We began to take the building down, said Robbins. "And it will be really gutted from the inside.”
Renovations on Building 90 are expected to be completed in the fall of 2018.
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