/ Modified may 5, 2017 4:15 p.m.

Borrowing Approved, Critical Campus Repairs May Start Soon

University leaders say a new funding program for campus infrastructure will be 'game changing.'

Vet Sci Exterior Building 90 has been referred to as a top priority for "renewal" by officials at the University of Arizona. (PHOTO: Nick O'Gara, AZPM)

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Arizona’s three state universities are preparing for what may soon be a building boom on their campuses.

Lawmakers adopted a plan to send millions of dollars a year to the universities, which each will match and borrow against to pay for building repairs. It will translate into $400 million for buildings at the University of Arizona.

And although it's part of next year’s budget deal, the money doesn’t start flowing until July 2019.

Arizona Board of Regents President Eileen Klein said she's not concerned about the delay in the flow of money.

"From our point of view, it’s the long-term commitment that the Legislature and the governor have made that is so important and lets us move forward with our future planning," she said.

Gregg Goldman, UA CFO, said that monetary commitment may allow a project to repair some of the worst buildings on campus to start even before the money arrives.

"My hope will be that sometime late summer, we can go ahead, borrow the money and start that project," he said. "So we don’t have a year lag before we can actually see the impact on our campus."

Goldman said the top priority will be work on Animal and Comparative Biomedical Sciences Building, sometimes called Building 90.

Students and staff in that building have complained that conditions in their workplace are making them sick and compromising their research.

The UA hired a private firm to conduct a full assessment of the building; that report showed that the space needs almost $18 million in repairs.

Goldman said he expects the UA to spend about half of the money it gets through this program, around $200 million, on renovations and the other half on new buildings.

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