Michigan House and Senate bills referred to committee in February to finance college and university building and renovation projects are stuck in their respective Appropriations Committees.
Both Senate Bill 1150 and House Bill 5858 seem to be going no where fast. Each bill contains a “zero budget” for higher education spending. The legislature needs to get a bill written and on the Governor’s desk by the end of September if there is to be any higher education spending from the state at community colleges and public universities in FY 2011.
Each year, community colleges and universities submit building construction “wish lists” to the state budget office. If approved, the state pays 75% of the project costs for university projects and 50% of the costs of community college projects.
The largest request from a university this year is from Wayne State University – $200,000,000 for a new multi-disciplinary Biomedical Research Building. The largest community college request is from Oakland Community College – $32,065,000 for the interior renovations and additions on Building A in the Auburn Hills campus.
Design engineers, architects and construction trades benefit from the state’s spending on these big projects. Passage of these bills would provide a huge boost to these employment sectors.