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Funding restoration sought

Spectrum Volume 17 Issue 18 - February 2, 1995

Members of the General Assembly have filed amendments to the 1995-96 budget bill that would restore to Virginia Tech some $18 million in general funds slated to be cut by the Allen administration, and seek an additional $7.5 million in non-general and general funds for several campus initiatives.

At the top of the list, the university is seeking restoration of $14.58 million for Cooperative Extension and the Agriculture Experiment Station.

"This figure represents a combined total of $12.379 million cut in the new budget bill, $145,700 for seafood research, and $2.19 million cut during the 1994 General Assembly session," said Larry Hincker, director of University Relations.

Ralph Byers, director of governmental affairs, said that 29 of the 40 members of the Senate have co-signed the amendment, as have 76 of the 100 House of Delegate members.

Hincker said the university is also seeking to restore $700,000 for the Center for Organizational and Technological Advancement in support of the Hotel Roanoke initiative; $300,000 for the Center for Interdisciplinary Applied Mathematics; $75,000 for the Virginia Water Resource Center; and $800,000 for operational support for the Marion duPont Scott Equine Medical Center in Leesburg.

The university is also seeking an amendment to language establishing the Virginia Racing Commission that would direct 20 percent of the revenues from the commission to go to the Equine Medical Center in support of the center and its services to the equine industry.

Virginia Tech is also seeking $583,000 in general funds to cover regulatory requirements to support environmental and occupational safety issues. "Unfunded mandates affect the university, too," Hincker said.

According to Hincker, Virginia Tech is also asking for $6.15 million in non-General Fund authority and $1.1 million in general funds for four capital projects.

"Virginia Tech has asked for $1.10 million in direct appropriations to begin the design planning on the second set of Upper Quad residence halls that will be converted to office space as part of the campus master plan," he said.

Hincker said the university is asking the General Assembly for authority to spend $550,000 in private money to begin planning for an Advanced Communication and Information Technology Center. The building will be built using private, federal, and state resources.

The university is asking the General Assembly for authority to redirect monies already granted to improve its waste-disposal programs. The Assembly had allocated $850,000 for an infectious waste-disposal-incinerator. Because of the development of new technologies which are less expensive, the university is asking the Assembly for the authority to reallocate the incinerator money and raise an additional $848,000 in revenue bonds to purchase a bioconverter. The bioconverter grinds and biologically disposes of infectious waste.

Finally, Virginia Tech is requesting the authority to use private monies to construct an addition to the athletic facilities. The additional space will enable the university to be competitive with its conference teams while fulfilling the support needs under Title IX rules.

"Although we are asking the General Assembly for $4.75 million in authority, all of the money will come from private sources and construction will not commence until the money is in hand," Hincker said.