NU proposes bold, multi-million dollar projects

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January 18th, 2012

Lincoln, NE – The University of Nebraska unveiled a proposal Wednesday asking for $91 million in state funds to help build four health-related projects. The money would go for new buildings to house nursing programs in Lincoln and Kearney, a cancer research tower at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, and a veterinary building in Lincoln.

NU President J.B. Milliken announced plans for four major construction projects. (Photo credit NET News)

University President J.B. Milliken said the projects would meet a variety of goals. “Each of these components is an important part of economic growth in the state, planning for the future, creating new jobs, providing new opportunity for young people, but also in this case, addressing the health needs of people across Nebraska,” Milliken said.

Sen. Galen Hadley of Kearney is the sponsor of legislation to build a new addition for nursing and other health programs in that city. Hadley said the project could help combat both brain drain and a nursing shortage.

“One of the biggest problems … that we have in this state, is that a lot of times we get our students to Lincoln and Omaha, and they have a very difficult time finding their way back to Broken Bow,” Hadley said. “So I think this proposal will help the entire outstate Nebraska have those kind of health care people – those professionals – that we need for outstate Nebraska.”

The proposals call for making one-time construction expenditures using money from the state’s cash reserve. Sen. Tony Fulton, sponsor of the nursing construction proposal for Lincoln, acknowledged that the University is in some sense competing for dollars with other proposals, like Gov. Dave Heineman’s call for tax cuts. Fulton said it’s the responsibility of the legislature, and the governor, to make judgments “based on the overall policy going forward for Nebraska.”

“So that’s what we’ll do,” Fulton said. “The fact that we have competing proposals is healthy.”

Fulton added that he thinks the state can afford both tax cuts and the University construction spending.

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