- Associated Press - Friday, December 19, 2014

EVANSVILLE, Ind. (AP) - Supporters of a planned medical school campus in Evansville say they’re confident the project will move forward even though a key state panel failed to include it in a list of spending priorities presented to state lawmakers on Thursday.

Indiana University, the University of Southern Community College are seeking nearly $50 million for the campus that would cover about six city blocks. But the Commission for Higher Education omitted the project from the funding recommendations it made to the State Budget Committee.

Patrick Shoulders, an Indiana University Board of Trustees member, told the Indiana and Ivy Tech

Evansville Courier & Press (https://bit.ly/1w60h0B ) that he and Mayor Lloyd Winnecke have been talking with lawmakers and state officials and are confident the project will be funded.

“This means absolutely nothing in terms of the fate of the project,” Shoulders said. “As somebody told me, this is the first inning in a nine-inning game. My belief that this project is going to happen hasn’t been shaken in the least.”

IU spokesman Mark Land said the university has had “constructive discussions” with a key budget architect, Republican Sen. Luke Kenley, and will work to ensure the project moves forward.

Kenley questioned why IU ranked the project last in priority out of its proposed capital projects.

Thomas Morrison, IU’s vice president for capital planning and facilities, said the project was listed after the university’s traditional requests but that its position does not reflect its importance.

“We believe the Evansville project is unique and stands on its own and does not necessarily compare to other capital requests,” Morrison said.

Indiana Commissioner for Higher Education Teresa Lubbers said she expects the medical school campus to receive a lot of attention during the legislative session.

“This is a long process,” Lubbers said. “They will make their case, and I think it’s an important project. It could well be that a compelling case will be made and the Legislature will fund it.”

If funding is approved, construction is set to begin in October, with the building completed by 2017.

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Information from: Evansville Courier & Press, https://www.courierpress.com


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