Iowa State University

Inside Iowa State
Jan. 26, 1996

Engineering, livestock facilities funded in governor's budget

by Anne Dolan

For the first time in six years, Gov. Terry Branstad's budget recommendations for capital (facility) projects at Iowa State include money for new construction.

For the year that begins July 1, Branstad is recommending that the Iowa Legislature appropriate $15.3 million for intensive livestock research facilities and $6.1 million toward the Engineering Teaching and Research Complex. The governor also is recommending further funding for the engineering complex of $3 million and $1.9 million in FY98 and FY99, respectively. In recent years, state appropriations for capital projects have been earmarked for things such as fire safety and deferred maintenance. Branstad has recommended no one-time allocations to Iowa State for deferred maintenance in the next fiscal year.

The new construction funds, along with Branstad's indication that he again will recommend full state funding of salary increases at regents schools, highlight a Branstad budget that will be reviewed this session by legislators.

"The need for salary support continues to be as strong as it has ever been," said President Martin Jischke. "Nothing is more important than sustaining the quality of the faculty and staff at Iowa State.

"We are grateful that the governor has recommended funding for the first phases of these building projects," Jischke added. "We are hopeful that the general assembly will agree with the governor about their importance to Iowa's future."

Carol Bradley, director of governmental relations, said other variables in the budget equation are future decisions about the federal budget and the implications for state appropriations. But Bradley called funding for the engineering complex and the livestock research facilities "incredible recommendations for Iowa State."

The Engineering Teaching and Research Complex is a $60 million project that officials anticipate will be paid for with federal funds (25 percent), private funds (25 percent) and state funds (50 percent). The livestock research facilities proposal includes office/lab additions to both Kildee Hall and the Meat Laboratory and a new infectious disease isolation facility at the Veterinary Medicine campus, at a total cost of $26.6 million.

Funds for the two projects would come out of a three-year, $66 million "Rebuild Iowa" infrastructure fund created by Branstad that focuses on state university and state government buildings.

Branstad's recommended increase to Iowa State's base operating budget is less than 1 percent over current levels. The recommendation, however, includes new money for proposals that respond to three of the goals in ISU's strategic plan. The recommended additions to base funds are:

--$250,000 to improve undergraduate education.

--$700,000 to continue the Healthy Livestock Initiative strengthen graduate, professional and research programs).

--$300,000 for initiatives that spur rural development in Iowa.

While a less than 1 percent increase is "very modest," Bradley noted that the governor's pledge to recommend full funding of salary increases would raise the percentage of additional money to Iowa State to approximately 4.5 percent.

"Not only is that a very good level, it's also a more honest approach," she said. "If the salary policy is fully funded, we won't be forced to reallocate to pay for salary increases. That makes all the difference in the world."

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