$36M plan to renovate science and computer facilities waits Senate approval

April 25, 2008

DEARBORN / April 25, 2008---A $36 million renovation project at the University of Michigan-Dearborn took a major step forward Wednesday, April 23, when the Michigan House of Representatives approved a number of capital outlay projects at Michigan’s public universities and community colleges.

Members of the House discussed the proposal with faculty and administrators at UM-Dearborn on Friday, April 25. The legislation will now move to the Michigan Senate.

At UM-Dearborn, the project would renovate science laboratories and computer facilities in the campus’s Science Building and the Computer and Information Science Building. Those buildings were built for the campus’s opening in 1959 and were last renovated in 1985.

“Compared with other schools in the state, we have a very large proportion of students enrolled in natural sciences and in the engineering programs that rely on the basic sciences,” according to UM-Dearborn Chancellor Daniel Little.

Enrollment in the sciences, especially in biological sciences, has been growing significantly on campus in recent years. In addition, the growth of Internet and computer-based instruction have had a huge impact on the ways science is taught over the past two decades.

“This renovation project is crucial to our ability to provide the best learning environment for our students, as well as high-quality research spaces for our faculty members,” Little said.

The state’s capital outlay process requires Michigan’s public universities to match at least 25 percent of the total cost of any project, so the proposed renovation at UM-Dearborn will receive $27 million from the state, if the proposal is adopted by the legislature. UM-Dearborn will provide the matching funds through long-term debt and private support.

“We still have a way to go in this process before we can start the renovation,” according to Edward Bagale, vice chancellor for government relations at UM-Dearborn. “But the approval by the House is a very important step and reflects the strong support we’ve received for this proposal from our representatives in the legislature, including Representatives Gino Polidori and Morris Hood III as well as Senator Irma Clark-Coleman.”

The legislation approved by the House also includes a $15 million project at Henry Ford Community College.

“Taken as a whole, the House-backed bill accounts for nearly $1 billion in construction on college campuses across the state,” Bagale said. “In addition to what it means to our students, this is a jobs bill and is critically important to reviving our state’s economy and putting people back to work.”

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CONTACT: Terry Gallagher
PHONE: 313-593-5518
The Office of University Relations
Room 1040, Administration Building
University of Michigan-Dearborn