UA regents discuss money, facilities and land

The Board of Regents along with the UAA chancellor came together to discuss pressing consent, ongoing and future agendas. After the motion for the board to adopt the agenda was presented, the meeting was like a game of chess: ready to put the consent phase in checkmate.

The most crucial aspect to UAA's upcoming future was the approval of the schematic design for the UAA Library Addition and Renovation Project. The library project includes the construction of a new parking garage and pedestrian walkway. The project cost must not exceed $43,980,000 and the board authorized to expend up to $9,268,000 total project cost for the parking garage and walkway. At the meeting members discussed the planning and designing aspects of the project.

Board of Regents said, “We wanted to be sure there is a continual flow between the old and the new (libraries),” said Board of Regents' Chair of Finance Elsa Demeksa.

The Board of Regents questioned where UAA stood in regards to the planning for the library addition and overall construction.        

“We wanted to be certain UAA has done excellent planning making sure they use existing library space. I am very comfortable with the team and the chancellor is on top of it,” Demeksa said.

The first matter of approval addressed was the 2001 Land Management Development Plan. The Development Plan is designed to determine university investment properties that are possible sites for construction and development. The plan must be distributed and advertised to legislators in over 225 communities as well as the general public. This notification process identifies potential conflicts for property development and to see the general consensus about any proposals.

When Student Regent, Joshua Horst was asked what he wanted out of the land management discussion, he said, “to get a feel of where the land management side of the university is heading.” Horst said the discussion was on specific parcels and what they were planning on doing with them.

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After the Congress Act of 1915 and 1929 gave it the right to land grants, the university established a land grant trust to cumulate interest. One aspect of parcel development contributes to the land grant trust fund, helps supply tuition scholarships for the top 10 percent of university students.           

Board of Regents' Vice President of Finance Joseph Beedle said, “I feel great about it because we get revenue and because we can grow our land grant trust fund to distribute earnings to the university, to otherwise complement what we receive from the state budget.”

The second agenda item was the approval of the Abrogation and Release of Restrictions Agreement. This agreement was to relocate a transmission tower to a site on Bender Mountain. For a fee of $8,000, the federal government has agreed to allow the relocation of the tower, since it complies with the “education-use-only” restriction.

Another issue that the university wanted approval for was the land acquisition plan for the University of Alaska Fairbanks Poker Flat Research Range, a rocket-launching facility for research and testing. The university needs to buy an area within a specific circumference for safe launching of rockets from the facility.

 The Board of Regents approved all agendas to be carried forward and left them open to future discussion. The meeting pushed forward with ongoing issues of more parcel land areas around the state. Future agendas to report on Land Management operations were addressed, along with master planning and other future developments for UAA and UAF. The meeting was adjourned and another full board meeting is scheduled on March 8 through March 9.