WSU Regents Approve Legislative Priorities

PULLMAN, Wash. — The Washington State University Board of Regents has approved a slate of budget requests to the Washington Legislature for the 2001-03 biennium. WSU will request funding for faculty salary increases, academic program enhancements, and facilities improvements and additions.

President V. Lane Rawlins told the regents that the main emphasis for his administration is to enhance WSU’s educational quality. He said his priorities include faculty salaries, instructional quality and research, enrollment, outreach and technology.

WSU will request funding for a 6 percent salary increase for faculty in 2001 and a 4 percent increase in 2002. Rawlins said the increases are needed to remain competitive with other institutions and to retain high quality faculty.

Two new initiatives are proposed: biotechnology and information technology. Both are designed to enhance instructional quality and research.

Funding requests for facilities projects are intended to provide for enrollment growth in high demand fields such as biotechnology, communications and education. Lawmakers will be asked to allocate $56.3 million for additions and renovations to Johnson, Murrow and Cleveland halls.

Another request is for a new facility to house the WSU Institute for Shock Physics, which conducts long-term fundamental research and trains leading graduate students in the field. The project also would upgrade existing lecture halls and classrooms in the adjacent Webster Physical Sciences Building. The funding request is for $10.6 million.

The budget request includes $11.3 million in funding for infrastructure improvements and $29 million for modernization of the Pullman campus’ aging energy plant.

Various projects are requested for the branch campuses, including construction funding for a $15.9 million multimedia classroom building at WSU Vancouver.

The regents also approved the addition of several degree programs to WSU’s distance-education and branch campus offerings.