April 4, 2011 in News

House budget has $35 million for med school

By The Spokesman-Review

OLYMPIA — The House Capital Budget, a $3.1 billion two-year spending plan for state government’s large construction projects, includes a $35 million proposal for a building to house a new medical school in Spokane.

The budget proposes that amount be part of bonds sold in 2013 to begin work on the medical school building on the Riverpoint Campus. It’s listed as the WSU-Spokane Riverpoint Biomedical and Health Sciences building, and Capital Budget committee staff confirmed that’s the title being used for the medical school.

The funding is set for 2013 because that’s when the state will have increased bonding capacity for such a large project, staff said. The state will sell about $850 million in bonds in this fiscal year and another $544 million in fiscal 2012. The med school money would come out of the bond sales in the second year of the biennium.

The total price tag of the building has been estimated at about $70 million, but Washington State University would request the other half in the 2013-15 capital budget.

The House plan also has about $30 million for the second phase of remodeling of Patterson Hall on the Eastern Washington University campus in Cheney, and $20 million for classrooms on the Spokane Falls Community College campus.

The inclusion of money for the medical school in the House budget represents a significant victory for business and government leaders in Spokane, who made the school their number one priority in the Legislature this year and lobbied hard for it.

That money was not included in Gov. Chris Gregoire’s Capital Budget Proposal released in December. The Senate is expected to release its capital plan next week.

The final budget must pass both houses and receive Gregoire’s signature.

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