voters sent a clear message about the importance of higher education
Tuesday by approving bonds to fund about $846 million for building
projects at colleges and universities around the state.
margin of approval was high 72 percent statewide as
voters turned out in surprisingly strong numbers despite a blanket
of rain across the commonwealth.
bond package includes $68.3 million for nine projects at U.Va. The
needs range from $24.2 million toward a new medical research building
to about $12.5 million for infrastructure such as "chillers."
of the bonds comes at a critical time, when state agencies, including
colleges and universities, are beleaguered by budget cuts. Tuesdays
vote obviously raised morale around Grounds.
me, this vote is encouraging and inspiring. For Virginia and the
public interest in the quality of life, it is a triumph," said
John T. Casteen III. "It means that Virginians want the state
to get back to work. And it shows that we are not divided on the
priority that education has for Virginians. Nor are we divided on
the necessity that the public take responsibility for the core financing
of academic buildings in the public colleges."
are asking for responsible use of public funds, Casteen said, adding
that he believes that with passage of the bond Virginia will be
able to build its way out of the recession.
package touches many parts of the University the schools
of engineering and medicine, the College of Arts & Sciences,
even Facilities Management.
Arthur "Tim" Garson Jr., vice president and dean of the
Medicine, expressed gratitude for Tuesdays result.
have the citizens of the Commonwealth to thank for their support.
We pledge to use the new laboratory space to improve the health
of those closest to us," he said.
medical research building, called MR-6, is the Universitys
biggest single-ticket item among the projects. The $24.2 million
will go toward the total cost of $50 million, with the remainder
coming through private donations.
research project, the nanotechnology and materials science and engineering
building, is receiving $7 million toward its total cost of $34 million.
vote is a reaffirmation of Jefferson's sense that dreams for the
future are better than the history of the past," said Richard
Miksad, dean of the School
of Engineering and Applied Science. "Funds for the new
nanotechnology building will allow us to pursue our vision of becoming
a national leader in the field. Nanotechnology is a growth sector
that will bring new jobs, new companies and new resources to the
addition to facilities for research, the bonds will provide $14.3
million toward the Colleges South Lawn project and pay for
long overdue renovations to Fayerweather and Gilmer halls.
funds from the bond will permit us to rebuild the central infrastructure
of the University's largest school," said Edward L. Ayers,
dean of the College. "This news could not come at a better
time, given the on-going hardship caused by the state's budget problems."
referendum was the fourth time Virginians have voted on bonds for
higher education projects around the state. A decade ago, citizens
turned out in record numbers to approve spending $613 million around
as now, the decisive results send a message.
success of the bond act demonstrates the support of the people of
Virginia for higher education," Ayers said.