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Eye On Olympia

Breakthrough on WSU building…

Breaking a legislative impasse, lawmakers have agreed to authorize $10 million toward Washington State University’s top priority this session: a $63 million life sciences lab in Pullman.

Until today, it looked like the university might get nothing this year — and not even be allowed to spend $63 million of the interest off its own land holdings to build what it says is a badly needed research facility.

“They get to start it,” said Rep. Hans Dunshee, D-Snohomish, (above) the House construction budget chair. The deal, he said, protects the land money — which is typically used for maintenance, not new buildings — and still gives the school enough to lay a foundation for the lab.

“We’re good with it,” said WSU’s Larry Ganders, sitting in the gallery over the House chambers Friday afternoon. “It looks like that’s as far as we’re going to be able to get this session.”

The deal came hours before Rep. Don Cox, R-Colfax, planned to try to amend the budget on the House floor, adding the full $63 million. He withdrew that amendment in favor of the $10 million agreement.

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Richard Roesler covers Washington state news from The Spokesman-Review's bureau in Olympia.

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