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New buildings are budget’s silver lining (11:50 a.m. 6/8/09)

Associated Press Writer

Madison (AP)
— Amid pay cuts, furloughs and larger class sizes, University of Wisconsin System officials see one silver lining in the otherwise harsh state budget: a big investment in new buildings.

The Legislature’s Joint Finance Committee has approved 36 major UW System building projects, including new residence halls, state-of-the-art research laboratories and academic buildings.

UW System building and maintenance projects would receive $380 million in taxpayer support and another $486 million in student fees, private donations and other non-tax sources under the plan pending in the Legislature.

The committee included all 34 projects that had been recommended by the State Building Commission and added two more to the state budget at the last minute. Those were a $47 million building for the nursing school at UW-Madison and a $44 million academic building at UW-Eau Claire.

Those two projects would not receive funding until 2011, but UW System officials said the action allows planning to move forward and will free up money for other buildings in the next budget.

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