Regents want $600 million for construction at universities

The Nevada university system's board of regents wants $600 million for construction projects in the next biennium including $217 million for the multi-campus Health Sciences Center. The total is equal to the state's entire surplus budget.

The board approved the capital improvement projects budget Friday for presentation to the 2007 Legislature.

The Health Sciences Center is designed to address physician and nursing shortages in the state and improve the health of Nevadans and the quality and scope of health profession schools statewide. It would add 80 new faculty members to the school of medicine over the next two years and build a $98 million building for the project in Las Vegas, along with a $75 million health education building in Reno. Another $28 million would be used to expand nursing schools in Las Vegas.

In addition to the Health Sciences project, the capital improvement project calls for $73.78 million in construction at the University of Nevada, Reno, $54.24 million at the University of Nevada Las Vegas and $65 million at Nevada State College in Henderson. More than $130 million would be used for projects at Nevada's community colleges.

Part of the budget calls for $8 million to fund a wellness and recreation center to be built and operated jointly between Western Nevada Community College and Carson City.

Funds to finish projects approved by the 2005 Legislature are also included. The list would require a total of $339.5 million in state funds plus $41.35 million in "other" money - a total of $380.82 million.

Added to the Health Sciences Center, the total is $598.12 million in capital construction funding for the 2007-9 biennium.

There is also $2 million in the construction budget to begin planning a new Northwest Campus for Community College of Southern Nevada. The city of Las Vegas has offered the system 60 acres of land if the university system will agree to create a new campus there.

The board voted unanimously to accept the land deal and move forward with the new campus.

• Contact reporter Geoff Dornan at or 687-8750.


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