Capital Projects Lists Are Long

Kentucky public colleges and universities are already compiling their capital project wish lists.   They're getting ready for next year's legislative session.  A $33 million Engineering-Physics building tops the projects list at Murray State University, but President Randy Dunn says the school also badly needs a new $62 million library.

 And with online technology rapidly replacing books, Dunn knows the facility must be different from traditional libraries.

"It's not what we think of as a library when we went to school," said Dunn. "It is much more areas where, yes, books are stored. But you also have meeting rooms - electronic libraries that exist."

The 2012 legislative session is still seven months away, but Dunn and other university officials statewide are already letting lawmakers see their capital project needs.

In these tight budget times, public colleges may be lucky to get even one project funded through the general fund. Bonded projects sometimes fare better, but even those need legislative approval.


U.S. 60 slices right through the middle of Kentucky State University's campus in Frankfort. There's a tunnel under the road, but Jack McNear (above, right) of KSU facility operations, says students don't like to use it.

"It's dark," said McNear. "It's lit, but it's a 1969-style tunnel. And so, they cross the street. Though the speed limit is 45 on U.S. 60, it does tend to be a hazard for our students."

A $2 million pedestrian bridge over the highway is on the school's capital projects wish list for 2012. Public universities are already giving lawmakers a preview of those lists.

The pedestrian bridge is KSU's third priority, behind a new nursing building and a central boiler plant. Lawmakers approved the nursing building in 2006, but then-Gov. Ernie Fletcher vetoed it.