The Daily Tar Heel

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Wednesday October 27th

Senate Approves Campus Construction Projects

Each year many of the universities in the UNC system put in their proposals for construction projects to be endorsed by the UNC-system Board of Governors.

If the projects are approved by the BOG, they then become non-appropriation bills that go before the General Assembly.

The non-appropriations bill will allow the UNC system to use the money provided by fees and donations for improvements in the absence of tax funds.

The Senate passed the non-appropriations bill by a 45-to-0 vote Tuesday.

It will now go before the House for final approval.

An identical version of the bill has been introduced in the House, but it has yet to be heard by any committee.

Sen. John Kerr, D-Greene, who introduced the bill in the Senate, said that this is a way for universities to get funding, "when no tax money is available."

While the bill does not specifically state how much funding the universities could receive from the state for the projects, it does include several provisions that would allow the state to fund some of the projects at a later date.

At UNC-Chapel Hill the legislation approves the construction of a $44 million Ramshead Complex for Parking and Student Support and $10 million for the renovation of several residence halls.

"It will improve the quality of life on (the UNC-CH) campus," Kerr said.

The most expensive project in the legislation is the expansion of Carter-Finley Stadium at N.C. State University at an estimated cost at $50 million.

The bill now moves to the House, where Kerr is confident it will be passed.

Rep. Paul Luebke, D-Durham, who sponsored the House version of th bill, concurred with Kerr about the passage of the bill, but says he has "not heard a single word," about it yet.

"The bill has slipped between the cracks in the House," Luebke said.

He added that pressure to pass bills before the end of the session will push it forward.

Luebke also said that similar bills come before the legislature every year and usually pass with little debate. Luebke added that this could be part of the reason why the House bill has not been introduced.

Luebke said it is being voted on so late due to the problems the legislature faced in constructing a state budget. But he said the Senate version of the bill will be heard in the next 10 days.

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