UAA’s engineering building

Question

From two sources, I’ve heard that the completion of UAA’s engineering building was authorized by President Johnsen. If true, why did this happen? I thought that UAF’s engineering program was the stellar program offered in the UA system. It seems like UAF is being systematically dismantled.

Response

UAA’s new engineering building was fully funded by the Legislature and was completed last year before President Jim Johnsen took office. UAF’s new engineering building was only partially funded by the Legislature and therefore only partially completed when Johnsen took office. Although the UA Board of Regents did ask the Legislature for the $37.5 million in additional funds to finish UAF’s engineering building, these funds were not included in this year’s state budget. Johnsen therefore proposed to the UA Board of Regents that UA bond to raise the remaining funds needed to finish UAF’s building. During a special meeting June 27, the board did authorize the UA administration to begin the process of preparing a bonding package for consideration at the board’s September meeting. At the special June 27 meeting, the board also approved use of university “working capital” to resume work on the building while the bonding package is under consideration. In addition, Johnsen budgeted $3 million to service the debt incurred by the bond if the regents vote to approve the bond package and move forward. The president and board have been very supportive of UAF’s efforts to complete our project.

— Kari Burrell, UAF vice chancellor for administrative services