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Interdisciplinary facility tops list of state support
Taft signs bill that increases capital appropriations funding for Ohio University

ATHENS, Ohio (Jan. 10, 2007) -- A cutting-edge facility in the works at Ohio University got a financial boost when Gov. Bob Taft signed H.B. 699 in late December. The bill, which allocates $31.7 million in state capital funding to projects on Ohio University's six campuses for the 2007-08 biennium, earmarked $1.4 million for the integrated learning and research facility. 

Artist's rendering of the Integrated Learning and Research FacilityAn additional $1 million for the project was added with the support of state Sen. John Carey (R-Wellston), chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, state Sen. Joy Padgett (R-Coshocton) and state Rep. Jimmy Stewart (R-Albany). 

The 100,000-square-foot facility is a joint initiative of the College of Osteopathic Medicine and the Fritz J. and Dolores H. Russ College of Engineering and Technology. It will allow researchers, physicians, engineers, students, faculty, staff and collaborators to interact in an environment that defies boundaries, thus accelerating discovery and enhancing scholarship and learning. 

The $2,431,170 allocation is for the initial construction phase, slated for this year. Of the total project estimate of $30 million, the Osteopathic Heritage Foundation has committed $10 million; alumnus Charles R. Stuckey Jr., BSME '66, and his wife, Marilyn, have committed $5 million; and the Russ College has pledged $5 million. The university expects to supply the remaining funding with support from private donations and state capital. 

The total $31,730,562 in state capital funding represents an increase over the last two biennial appropriations. Ohio University received $25,912,864 in the 2005-06 biennium and $30,799,136 in 2003-04. 

Most of the capital funds allotted to for this biennium will go toward renovations that address changing academic needs and necessary upkeep. Regional campuses will receive $5,741,795. 

Close to one-third of the funds will support a variety of basic renovation projects. The remaining funds are earmarked for specific projects. 

The largest single allocation in the new funding package, $5,210,000, will help pay construction costs of the new 183,000-square-foot Baker University Center on the Athens campus, which opened Jan. 2. 

The redevelopment of the old Baker Center will receive $2.4 million for architecture and engineering services. That figure also includes funds for remediation of asbestos and lead paint, should the feasibility study under way recommend renovating all or part of the building. The college expects a recommendation from Toledo architectural firm The Collaborative Inc. this month about whether the old building should be renovated or replaced. 

Whatever the decision, the site will house the Scripps College of Communication, bringing together under one roof five schools that currently are spread across nine facilities. The Scripps College has received more than $20 million in support from the Scripps Howard Foundation. It was named the Scripps College last year following a $15 million gift from the foundation that will support a variety of programs and initiatives involving diversity, technology, teaching fellowships, scholarships, internships, visiting professional residencies and more. 

A $3,681,170 allotment will help fund expansion of academic space in Porter Hall, which houses the Psychology and Environmental and Plant Biology departments and the Psychology and Social Work Clinic. 

Funds also are earmarked for an entrance off Richland Avenue to the new Baker University Center and its 300-space parking facility. Anderson Hall, an aging building that previously housed animal research, will be removed. 

Another $2.175 million will fund upgrades to the Lausche Heating Plant in Athens for a multiphase project to modernize and extend the life of the system, also increasing efficiencies and reducing energy costs.

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Media Contact: Acting Senior Director of Media Relations Sally Linder, 740-597-1793 or linders@ohio.edu

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