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State construction projects nearly set

Capital budget likely to include millions in spending for area

OLYMPIA – Washington legislators are very close to approving tens of millions of dollars in new buildings and other work in the Spokane region.

The capital budget, which was expected to get final approval either late Saturday or today, includes new community college buildings, $4.3 million for a central Spokane YMCA/YWCA, and $350,000 in elevator work at Spokane’s Masonic Temple building. Also included: $2.5 million for lodge renovations at Mount Spokane State Park.

While taxes cover most of the two-year state operating budget, lawmakers also approve a much smaller construction budget funded mostly by bonds. The latter this year totaled $3.3 billion and was approved late Friday night by the state House of Representatives, over the objection of Republican lawmakers. Approval by the Senate was expected over the weekend.

Although many of those Republican House members are in districts that will get projects, they were unhappy that Democratic budget writers propped up the operating budget with $770 million in construction money, as part of the effort to fill a $9 billion two-year budget gap.

“Government has to live within its means,” said Rep. Kevin Parker, R-Spokane, who voted against the construction budget.

Washington State University will get $86 million in repairs, renovations and new projects. At its Riverpoint campus in Spokane, $4.3 million in early work will begin on a new biomedical and health sciences building. The Vancouver campus will get a $27 million new technology building.

WSU will also get approval to spend $6.2 million for a new animal health lab and $7.4 million for work on a new biomedical sciences building in Pullman.

Eastern Washington University is in line for $50.5 million, including $5.5 million for its Riverpoint Center and nearly $27 million to remodel Patterson Hall.

Spokane Community College and Spokane Falls Community College will each get about $40 million for buildings, including a new technical education building and a chemistry and life sciences building. Also included: $13.8 million to renovate SFCC’s Music Building 15, and $9.7 million for work on SCC’s Building 7.

The Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture stands to get $1.9 million in repairs and upgrades.

Spokane Neighborhood Action Programs will get $79,000 for its Riverwalk Point Community Building.

Airway Heights will get $1 million from the construction budget for its water treatment plant.

The Spokane County Courthouse will get $500,000 for restoration work on its historic features.

Colfax’s McDonald Park will get nearly $40,000 in lighting work, and Palouse will get $12,000 for work on its city park.

Spokane will get $530,000 for work on its historic Iron Bridge. The county Parks and Recreation Department will get nearly $200,000 to realign the Centennial Trail at Gateway Park near the Idaho state line, as well as $1.7 million to buy land at Antoine Peak.

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