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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Regents to discuss state stimulus

    The UA has secured funding to replace its legacy systems, and spring enrollment is up 2.2 percent this year – two things known as the Arizona Board of Regents continues its stay on campus this week.

    The regents will occupy the Student Union Memorial Center today and tomorrow to vote on a $1.4 billion proposal to bolster the state’s economy, make two key UA appointments and designate three new Regents’ professors, among other tasks.

    The board’s Technology Oversight Committee approved yesterday $90 million over three years that will replace the UA’s critical computer systems.

    UA President Robert Shelton has decried the systems as being outdated to the point of hurting the university’s ability to remain a competitive research institution.

    No new fees for students will be implemented to pay for the new communication technology, said Sen. Dennis DeConcini, the committee’s chair.

    “”We didn’t want the cost to go to the students,”” he said.

    The committee will vote tomorrow to approve new policies that would allow university administrators to spend certain amounts of money for technology and security without approval, but would call for an annual report, he said.

    The money limit will be revealed tomorrow, he said.

    Regents will hear an annual report today detailing spring enrollment for the state’s three universities.

    The current enrollment at the UA is 34,737 undergraduate and graduate students – a 2.2 percent increase since 2007.

    More students could mean more graduates in engineering and the sciences, ingredients in the intended effect of the Economic Stimulus Plan regents will discuss tomorrow.

    Regent Robert Bulla expects the board to approve the proposal, which will also fund new construction for Arizona State University, Northern Arizona University and the UA.

    The UA will use more than $300 million to build a new environmental and natural sciences building, an engineering research building and renovations to Centennial Hall.

    The plan states that its short-term goal is to create 14,000 new jobs in the state’s slumping construction industry as well as 16,000 jobs in related industries.

    State and local communities are expected to benefit from $140 million in revenue from the construction.

    Mid-term goals include alleviating overcrowding and growth at the three universities by providing new facilities and improving existing buildings.

    Long-term impacts involve increased infrastructure leading to more students earning college degrees, which will help create a “”diverse, high-tech, innovation-based economy in the long term,”” according to the plan.

    The universities will begin financing for the projects in 2009. They will be required to repay 20 percent of the costs, totaling $20.7 million a year, by 2012, with continual repayment for the next 20 years at an interest rate of 5 percent.

    The state will have until 2010 to begin paying off the debts accrued by the proposal’s financing.

    The plan justifies its prudence in light of slumps in credit and construction markets, which lessen the costs of financing and building and make long-term construction projects more fiscally reasonable.

    The Southern Arizona Leadership Council, Tucson Mayor Bob Walkup, Tucson Regulatory Economic Opportunities and Tucson Utilities Co. are backing the plan, according to information from Ziemba Wade, a public relations firm.

    Also tomorrow, the Human Resources Committee will also vote to approve the appointments of Allison Vaillancourt as the UA’s vice president for human resources and Jacqueline Mok as vice president and chief of staff.

    Vaillancourt is currently associate vice president of human resources, while Mok is the vice provost of academic affairs.

    The committee will vote to appoint professors Howard Ochman, Elizabeth Vierling and Richard Wilkinson as Regents’ professors, the UA’s highest faculty honor.

    Shelton recommended these appointments, and they are likely to pass, Bulla said.

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