Malloy Announces $37 Million For Capital Improvement At Community Colleges
By KATHLEEN MEGAN
March 05, 2013
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said Tuesday that more than $37 million in capital improvement projects for the state's community colleges will be placed on the agenda for next week's State Bond Commission meeting.
The funding -- paid for by additional state borrowing -- will be directed to a variety of projects including new instructional, research and laboratory equipment for all 12 colleges; the development of information technology networks; renovation and construction projects.
"Our state's community and state colleges play an integral role in our effort to train the workforce of tomorrow," Malloy said in a statement. "The investments we are announcing today will help our state and community colleges update and modernize their facilities, so that our students can compete in the global economy."
Philip E. Austin, interim president for the Board of Regents for Higher Education said in statement the inclusion of the projects on this month's bond agenda "is great news for our community colleges. Much of this funding will help to advance and develop the IT network and capabilities throughout the system, and allow our community colleges to focus on deferred maintenance projects to help keep our existing buildings in better shape, and enrich the community college experience for our students."
Malloy's proposal in late January for a $2 billion long-term science and technology initiative at the University of Connecticut had left some educators in the state university and community college system feeling slighted.
Tuesday's announcement came as a surprise, said Rep. Roberta Willis D-Salisbury, co-chairwoman of the higher education committee. "We didn't know he was going to be doing anything."
Willis said it's positive "any time you invest in higher education," but that many of the construction projects are "deferred maintenance."
"We need to do more than parking lots and deferred maintenance," Willis said.
Willis' co-chairwoman of higher education, Sen. Beth Bye, D-West Hartford said, "the community colleges were overdue."
The colleges also need "operational money for faculty,'' Bye said. "This is well and good, but it's not enough to support the faculty and keep tuition affordable."
The bonding includes $18 million to finance instructional, research and laboratory equipment for the 12 community colleges and the system office; $10 million for information technology networks; and $3.7 million to finance the design of renovations at Norwalk Community College, including a pedestrian bridge, new classrooms, and an addition to house a student center.
Other projects include $3.2 million for parking lot renovations at Manchester Community College and $480,000 to finance deferred maintenance projects at various community colleges.
The State Bond Commission is scheduled for 10:30 a.m. special meeting on Wednesday, March 13.
Reprinted with permission of the Hartford Courant.
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