By JACOB BLAIR
Even though Eastern was earmarked to receive nearly $300 million during the 2014 legislative session, the university did not receive funding for all of its most coveted projects.
The university received funding for phase two of the New Science Building and a $15 million agency bond to improve Eastern’s athletics department. But left off the funding list when lawmakers finalized the state budget last month, was $25 million for renovations to the Moore Building and funds to create a new parking structure on campus.
Even though not everything got approved, President Benson said he’s still happy with what Eastern did ultimately come away with.
“We got a $66 million dollar building, so we’ll be grateful for that,” Benson said. The new building’s groundbreaking date is tentatively set for August 26. However, the building will take approximately 30 months after groundbreaking to complete, said Barry Poynter, vice president for finance and administration.
As for the Moore Building or the funding for a parking garage, the university shouldn’t forget about those projects, Poynter said.
“They won’t go away, but we’ll save them for another day,” Poynter said.
The Moore Building’s need for renovation became evident when pipes burst and flooded several floors earlier this year, Poynter said.
The university plans to repurpose the Moore building and use it for other academic disciplines once the Department of Biology moves into the New Science Building after phase two is constructed, Poynter said.
Any future renovations to the building that could be funded in future legislative sessions include updating the HVAC and electrical systems, updating classroom space, adding comforts such as better desks and chairs, and renovating the east side of the façade to add more windows to face the Ravine, Poynter said.
A parking structure was on the list of needed things in a 2006 study for the university. The university now has more time to figure out where a structure should go, Poynter said.
“This loss gives us a chance to better study the traffic and pedestrian flow,” Poynter said.
Benson said Morehead State University was approved this legislative session to construct a 500 space parking structure.
Just because the funding wasn’t there does not mean the university will give up on obtaining funds for a parking structure, Benson said.
“It’s still a priority, but we just can’t do it right now,” Benson said.
The next legislative budget session will occur in February 2016. In the meantime, Poynter said the university would continue to look at private donors and other sources of funding to help the timeliness of these projects.
“We’ll keep asking,” Poynter said.