Call to pass capital bill

By Michael Frerichs

Last week I joined with my colleagues in the State Senate to pass legislation that will fund a comprehensive capital construction program. The legislation was the result of bipartisan negotiation and passed unanimously in the State Senate.

If enacted, the capital plan will fund more than $180 million in projects for the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. This includes $55 million for the renovation of Lincoln Hall, $42 million for a new Electrical and Computer Engineering Building, $16.9 million for a new Post Harvest Crop Research Facility, and $60 million for a new facility to house IBM Blue Waters, the proposed world’s fastest supercomputer.

UIUC students are well aware of the need for these projects, especially the renovation of historic Lincoln Hall. At a time when we are actively working to enhance the University of Illinois’ national reputation, it is completely unacceptable that Lincoln Hall, home of the University’s largest college, is in such a state of disrepair. The legislation passed by the Senate goes a long way toward fulfilling the state’s obligation to provide a world-class learning environment for Illinois’ best and brightest students.

The capital bill must still pass in the Illinois House of Representatives before any construction can begin. I encourage concerned students, faculty, and alumni to call their state representative and ask them to urge House Speaker Michael Madigan to allow a vote on this legislation that is so critical to the future of the University of Illinois.