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UW Projects Benefit from State Supplemental Budget

March 6, 2015

The state supplemental budget approved by Wyoming lawmakers includes significant investments in University of Wyoming employee compensation, UW’s Science Initiative, athletics, and public-private partnerships in energy research and literacy education.

The spending plan signed Thursday by Gov. Matt Mead also includes funding to cover increased maintenance and utilities costs for new facilities at UW, and to re-establish a counselor education program at UW-Casper.

“The investments that the Legislature and governor continue to make in UW are transforming the state’s sole four-year research university,” UW President Dick McGinity says. “Wyoming’s elected officials are enabling UW to improve in ways that will measurably benefit the state and its citizens for decades to come.”

The university’s top request, $1 million annually in recurring funding for employee retention and recruitment, was approved by legislators and the governor. That amount will augment a total of $6.2 million in earlier state appropriations and projected tuition revenues to address UW compensation issues in the 2015-16 fiscal year.

Legislators and the governor continue to support the use of state dollars to match private contributions for important UW projects. The supplemental budget includes $15 million in 2015, and another $5 million in 2016, to match private dollars for research into unconventional oil and gas reservoirs, a key component of UW’s Tier-1 Engineering Initiative and the UW School of Energy Resources.

Likewise, the supplemental budget includes $2.5 million to match private contributions for UW’s new Literacy Research Center and Clinic. Those amounts will be added to $2.5 million appropriated during the 2014 legislative session -- which was matched by a $2.5 million private gift -- to create a total $10 million literacy endowment.

Lawmakers and the governor supported initial requests to begin planning for new facilities and make programmatic changes related to UW’s Science Initiative, which promises to transform science education in Wyoming.

Responding favorably to requests from the Wyoming Governor’s Top-Tier Science Programs & Facilities Task Force, the Legislature approved $750,000 for programs and $3 million for facility design, in addition to setting aside $30 million toward construction of a new building located between UW’s Biological Sciences Building and Physical Sciences Building. The facility will contain studio-style classrooms to facilitate active learning, along with state-of-the-art research centers in scientific imaging and biological research.

UW’s plans to maintain and increase competiveness in athletics received strong support from lawmakers and the governor. The supplemental budget includes $20 million to match private contributions for the planned $44 million High Altitude Sports Performance Training Center, a major expansion of the Rochelle Athletics Center.

In addition, there is $4 million -- to be added to $1 million already in the biennial budget -- to match private contributions to the UW Athletics Department. The university is preparing to respond to expected changes in NCAA regulations regarding student-athlete scholarships and benefits, in addition to enhancing recruiting, nutrition and other services to student-athletes.

The supplemental budget also sets aside $8 million -- to be added to $2 million approved last year -- toward eventual construction of a new competitive swimming and diving facility at UW.

The master’s degree program in counselor education at UW-Casper will be re-established with $193,656 approved by lawmakers and the governor. The funding will cover two faculty positions and other support services at UW-Casper, in an effort to meet employment needs in the mental health and education fields in Casper and around the state.

Other UW items included in the supplemental budget request are:

-- $2.6 million for non-potable water systems for UW landscaping, potentially including improvements to Jacoby Golf Course irrigation.

-- $375,000 in recurring funding annually to cover increased maintenance and utilities costs for new facilities at UW, including the new Energy Innovation Center and the Michael B. Enzi STEM Facility.

-- $125,000 in recurring funding annually for personnel and materials to assure environmental health and safety as a result of the increasing sophistication of technology and research in new UW buildings.

-- $250,000 in one-time funding to begin planning for acquisition and equipping of a new UW research aircraft.


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Chad Baldwin

Institutional Communications

Bureau of Mines Building, Room 137

Laramie, WY 82071

Phone: (307) 766-2929

Email: cbaldwin@uwyo.edu

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