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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Budget cuts stall science center

    Construction of the state-funded downtown museum and science center has been postponed until further notice, UA President Robert Shelton announced in a press release sent Wednesday afternoon.

    Leslie Tolbert, UA vice president of research, graduate studies and economic development, said the current university budget cuts caused the program to be put on hold.

    “”We are trying to protect the education we provide our students,”” Tolbert said. “”We’re trying to protect classroom seats,professors availability and the ability of professors to do research, and we found the only way to meet our budget cut was to consider slowing down how we move forward on the plans for the science center state museum.””

    Funding for the project was to be paid upfront by the university and then would be paid back by the city once the project entered the construction phase, Tolbert said. The city planned to raise funds for the project by taking a small portion of the sales tax from the tax increment finance district that surrounds the planned construction site.

    “”As sales tax revenues go down, the city is also struggling to meet its obligations, it just made sense to just slow this down,”” Tolbert said. “”When the economy turns around we’re here, ready to go, but we will just slow it down (for now).””

    Shelton said in the press release that the university would continue to work on design and development but as of now, no construction would take place. “”Our mutual commitment to a strong partnership between the UA and the city in downtown redevelopment remains strong,”” Shelton said. “”However, the current budget crisis makes it impossible for us to proceed with our plans at this time.””

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