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Media Memo: State Senate Budget

TO: News and Assignment Editors

FROM: Mike Rindo

DATE: June 27, 2007

SUBJECT: State Senate Budget

The 2007-09 budget passed June 26 by the State Senate includes several University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire program and building initiatives. The budget:

  • Funds the NanoSTEM Initiative, part of the UW System Growth Agenda for Wisconsin. The budget includes a combined $3 million in funding for NanoSTEM Initiative programming at UW-Eau Claire and UW-Stout. Specific UW-Eau Claire benefits from the NanoSTEM Initiative include $1.9 million in new state funding; 12 new faculty/support staff positions; and funds to acquire additional scientific instrumentation for the Materials Science Center. Chippewa Valley Technical College is a partner in the NanoSTEM initiative but has a separate funding mechanism for its portion of the project.
  • Provides $1.1 million in planning money for a new academic building to replace the obsolete Brewer Hall/Campus School complex. The cost of the new academic building, which would be located between Zorn Arena and Schneider Social Science Hall, is currently estimated at $36.5 million, with construction anticipated in the 2009-11 biennium.
  • Includes the Davies Center redevelopment project. This project has zero impact on state taxpayers — it is to be paid for entirely by the students of UW-Eau Claire. The Joint Finance Committee previously voted 8-8 not to forward the Davies Center project as part of the budget, but the Senate budget restores the project. This $49 million student-led initiative has strong student support: An April 2005 survey determined 75 percent were in favor of a Davies Center building project, and a December 2005 survey indicated 64 percent supported the segregated fee increases necessary to finance a Davies Center redevelopment project.
  • Funds UW System nursing and teacher education initiatives. The nursing initiative would enable UW-Eau Claire to increase the number of baccalaureate-prepared nurses; expand off-site nursing programs, including its existing program at St. Joseph's Hospital in Marshfield; and develop new accelerated nursing programs to serve students with a bachelor's degree who want to pursue nursing as a career. The teacher education initiative would provide new positions to improve recruitment and retention of a diverse student body in teacher education, as well as assessment and evaluation of teacher education programs.

For additional information, contact Mike Rindo at 715-836-4742 or rindomj@uwec.edu.

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