story submitted by the University of Arkansas at Fort Smith
The University of Arkansas at Fort Smith has five appropriation requests before federal agencies — seeking funds to expand the university in facilities and programs — and UAFS officials have met with congressional representatives about the projects.
Administrators from UA Fort Smith recently visited with Arkansas's legislative representatives in Washington, D.C., to explain the requests and garner legislative support for their approval. Dr. Paul B. Beran, UAFS chancellor, said he felt optimistic about the meetings.
"We were very pleased with the meetings," Beran said. "The members of our congressional delegation were very positive about UA Fort Smith. We're appreciative of their support for these appropriation requests. The approval of these projects will be an asset to the university and the Fort Smith region."
Making the trip with Beran were Dr. Arleene Breaux, vice chancellor for university relations, and Mark Horn, vice chancellor for finance and administration. The three met with U.S. Sen. Mark Pryor, D-Ark., and U.S. Rep. John Boozman, R-Rogers, and their legislative staffs, as well as two staff members in the office of U.S. Sen. Blanche Lincoln, D-Ark.
The funding requests include
• Expansion and Renovation of Boreham Library — $6 million;
• Campus Energy Management Improvement Project — $5 million;
• Arkansas Research and Education Optical Network (ARE-ON) Campus Network Extension Project — $300,000;
• Business and Industrial Technology Training Center Facility Project at Fort Chaffee — $3 million; and,
Business and Technology Training Center Program Support — $1 million.
The requested funds, which come to a total slightly over $15 million, do not reflect the total costs for each project. Total project costs come to approximately $28 million.
"These projects are both necessary and relevant to the economic development of the region," Beran said. "We have had tremendous growth, growth that is expected to continue, and we want to be able to meet that growth head-on with facilities and programs."
The Boreham Library project encompasses part of the cost in improving energy efficiency of the building and the building's expansion, but it also has as its goal to increase opportunity for research access for university students and the citizens in the service area.
"We want to continue to be on the cutting edge of meeting educational needs of entry-level students, those already in the workforce and those entrepreneurs who will grow our economy," Beran said.
The campus energy management improvement project, which is designed to help contain cost increases to students, will include energy conservation measures for UAFS, while the ARE-ON project will provide additional high-speed Internet access across campus.
Funds for the Fort Chaffee training center project request will include the design, construction and equipping of the proposed facility. The center's support would come primarily from the fifth funding request.
The requests are before several agencies — Department of Education; Department of Energy; Department of Commerce; Transportation, Housing and Urban Development; and Department of Labor, Training and Employment Services.