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If a proposed bond referendum is approved by voters in November, Old Dominion University could receive more than $60.8 million for physical improvements to university facilities.

Co-sponsored by Sen. John H. Chichester and Delegate Vincent F. Callahan Jr., the legislative package, known as "Building Virginia's Future," was announced at a news conference Jan. 7. It would require the state to develop a multiyear capital plan, as well as make an ongoing, predictable annual investment. The proposal would have to be approved by the General Assembly, which meets Jan. 9 to March 9.

Funds from the bond would be used not only for higher education, but also for such needs as museums, parks and recreational facilities, and mental health programs.

Old Dominion President Roseann Runte applauded the initiative. "This is good news for Old Dominion," she said. "We are grateful to Sen. Chichester and Delegate Callahan for their efforts to help Virginia's colleges and universities now, while ensuring long-term viability."

Runte explained the legislation would provide debt financing for the $16.5 million in frozen funds for the Engineering and Computational Sciences Building. Included in the additional funding -- as part of the general obligation bond -- is more than $9 each for much-needed renovations to the Technology Building and the Batten Arts and Letters Building, as well as $13 million for a new Physical Science Building. Additional monies are slated for renovations to the Alfriend Chemistry Building and Hughes Hall, with the remaining $6 million targeted for a new Tri-Cities Higher Education Center in Chesapeake.

The proposed legislation includes an ongoing multimillion-dollar annual commitment to university budgets for upkeep of aging facilities, as well as funds to plan new construction.

"We now will look to our faculty and staff, alumni and students to support this legislation in November," Runte said. "We need to move forward on these long-awaited projects, and this bond will help us tremendously."

This article was posted on: January 7, 2002

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Telephone: 757-683-3114

Old Dominion University is an equal opportunity, affirmative action institution.