- Associated Press - Friday, September 18, 2015

TOPEKA, Kan. (AP) - The Kansas Board of Regents approved its budget request for the next legislative session on Thursday, placing at the top of its list of priorities a request for state lawmakers to provide more than $10 million in funding to build new science facilities at the University of Kansas.

The board plans to forward the request to Gov. Sam Brownback by the Oct. 1 deadline, and it will continue to monitor it and “start to zero in” as the 2016 legislative session draws closer, board chairman Shane Bangerte told the Lawrence Journal-World (http://bit.ly/1P963dJ ).

To construct the integrated science buildings, the University of Kansas is requesting $3.5 million in fiscal year 2017 and $7 million in fiscal year 2018, according to the budget request.

Tentative plans call for two facilities as part of a broader initiative to enhance and link science facilities across the campus. At the Regents budget meeting in July, Kansas University provost Jeff Vitter told the board that the school’s current science buildings are 59 years old on average and fraught with problems.

Other top priorities for fiscal year 2017, which ends in July 2017, are $2 million to establish a department of chemical and materials engineering at Wichita State University, $3.4 million for merit-based raises to faculty and staff at the University of Kansas Medical Center and $5 million to support the Department of Geology at Kansas State University. The Kansas Board of Regents also requested $2.2 million to increase retention and graduation rates at Fort Hays State University, $1.5 million to create a School of Transportation at Pittsburg State University and $500,000 for the Department of Nursing at Emporia State University.

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Information from: Lawrence (Kan.) Journal-World, http://www.ljworld.com

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