Project faces significant obstacles before work can be started
Despite a generous $20 million donation toward an interdisciplinary biotech building last fall, it appears construction for the long-awaited building still has a long way to go.
Slated for construction on the East Campus, the $115 million research facility would house scientists from various disciplines in an effort to facilitate breakthroughs in the field of biotechnology.
The building would also have a number of classrooms for students.
Professor of the chemistry and biochemistry department Marvin Caruthers donated $20 million toward the project, but the rest of the funding for the building is yet to be realized.
Paul Leef, architect and director of planning, design and construction for CU, said certain types of work could begin shortly despite the fact that the full $115 million has not to be raised.
“We have the funding in place to start the design process, but we need legislative spending authority to hire an architect,” Leef said.
Once this happens, Leef said, CU will be authorized to access and spend the funds it has set aside for the building.
Leef said he hopes to receive the spending authority as early as this spring.
Even with large donations such as Caruthers’, raising $115 million is not easy task.
A large portion of the building’s funding would need to come from the state. With various projects throughout the CU system jockeying for state funding, the reality of funding is often difficult to achieve.
Projects must be presented to the school president before being prioritized and then submitted to the board of regents for approval.
The process is then repeated by the regents, with the projects eventually making their way to Gov. Bill Ritter who then makes recommendations on which projects will receive state funding for the next year.
Based on Ritter’s recommendations this year, the biotech building will not receive funding for the 2008-2009 school year.
“There’s only so much dollars in state funding for state capital projects, and this one isn’t the absolute top priority,” said Hollie Stevenson, executive director of state and government federal relations for CU.
Even though the building’s future has yet to be finalized, CU spokesman Bronson Hilliard said the school remains resolute in seeing the project come to fruition.
“It’s an important project,” Hilliard said. “We’re viewing it as a transforming project for the campus.”
Contact Campus Press Staff Writer Stephen Oskay at Stephen.Oskay@colorado.edu.