Name: Dean O'Driscoll
With the passage this week of the Fiscal Year 2010 budget by the U.S. House of Representatives, Southern Utah University, and specifically its proposed Gibson Science Center, has garnered federal support in the amount of $476,000. The budget now awaits senate approval and President Obama's signature.
Twenty percent of this funding will be invested in a rural science teaching program, with the remainder helping to construct and equip the Gibson Science Center.
Stated SUU President Michael Benson, “When we first presented the addition to our science complex back in 2006, we knew that the only way to move up the priority list for capital projects was to secure non-state funding in the form of private gifts and federal support. That Senators Bennett and Hatch have been successful in helping us do so is a real credit to them and to their belief in what we are doing in our College of Science.”
This funding is completely separate from any federal stimulus money that may come to SUU, observes SUU Vice President for Government Relations and Regional Services Wes Curtis. “While the University is still waiting to see if any of the so-called State Stabilization Fund comes to Cedar City, this news today out of Washington, D.C., is very good for us and for this project,” stated Curtis.
The federal funds, coupled with a $3 million commitment – the largest gift ever to a capital project in SUU’s 110-year history – from Dr. Walter Gibson of Albany, New York, have helped position the science center project on the recommended bond list issued 10 days ago by the Capital Facilities Subcommittee of the Utah State Legislature.
The list includes full funding for seven projects and design money for two others, along with $31 million in improvement funds for campuses throughout the state. SUU’s Gibson Science Center is on the ranking of projects and falls within the Committee’s recommended bond amount of $151 million. It is anticipated that the Executive Appropriations Committee will take action on this recommendation in the next few days.
“From the first time we outlined this project and its importance to our campus, Senators Bennett and Hatch and their respective staffs have advocated for us and for federal support,” noted Benson. While the number of science students is declining throughout the U.S., SUU has booked record enrollments in the hard sciences in the past few years.
“The success of our graduates speaks to the commitment of our faculty and staff in preparing our students for careers in science, medicine, pharmacy, nursing, and other areas,” noted Benson.
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