Beshear and the lawmakers are supporting a proposal to authorize $363.3 million in agency bonds to pay for 11 projects at six state universities, including the renovation of the SAC. A bill will be filed soon to authorize the bonds. If the legislature passes it, the individual universities will issue the agency bonds over the coming months.
“This is a critical need on our campus and we appreciate the support of the governor and legislative leaders for this project,” said UofL President James Ramsey.
UofL submitted a proposal to use the funds to renovate the SAC following the opening of the new Student Recreation Center. The work is intended to provide more meeting and gathering space for students and campus assemblies, as well as updating the building’s mechanical, electrical and plumbing infrastructure.
There is an especially critical need to accommodate large groups of several hundred people, Provost Shirley Willihnganz told the Faculty Senate at its January meeting.
According to the proposal, “The project will expand the (building’s) meeting and conferencing facilities improving its ability to meet student needs in today’s contemporary student center. The renovated facility is planned to host on and off-campus group events, provide student hang out space, include a welcoming entrance and student / staff fitness facilities.”
The SAC renovation will begin when the new Student Recreation Center is completed this fall. The initial work would be limited to the east side of the SAC. The university would be responsible for covering payments on the $9.6 million bond issue. Its debt service source, according to the proposal, is the existing Student Activity Center Building fee.
Kentucky General Fund support for public universities has been cut 15 percent over the last three biennial budgets. Universities need the authority to use other revenues to maximize student opportunities, including needed facilities that may be built or improved without general fund revenues from the state. The bonds were proposed in the last legislative session but were not authorized.