Originally created 10/10/96

Regents want ASU to have emergency money

SWAINSBORO, Ga. - Emergency planning funds for Augusta State University likely will be included in Gov. Zell Miller's fiscal 1997 budget to be considered by the Georgia Legislature next spring.

The Board of Regents, without comment, voted unanimously Wednesday to approve a committee recommendation made Tuesday to seek $350,000 to help plan long-term solutions to aging, obsolete and potentially unsafe buildings.

"It's not just the asbestos-containing roofs that concern us," said Augusta State President William Bloodworth. "There are a host of things with those buildings that are problematic and costing enormous amounts in maintenance."

About 75 percent of the school's classrooms and offices are in remodeled ammunition warehouses built during World War II, and which contain more than five acres of deteriorating asbestos roofs.

Those buildings - Butler, Markert, Hardy and Skinner halls, and the Science and Classroom Office buildings - also have inadequate fire protection, PCB contamination in underground cables and other irreparable problems.

Dr. Bloodworth has asked the Regents to consider a $40 million capital program to design and build a classroom complex to replace - and enable demolition of - the six buildings.

The emergency planning funds, he said, will get the ball rolling.

"The task at the moment is not to design a single building, but rather to understand how to address a problem, the solution to which is most likely the removal of six very large buildings on campus," he said.

"The building program is in addition to other things," he said. "We're talking about so much building on this campus we'll have to reconsider where streets go, where people will walk and how their campus will continue to function in its present locale for the next few decades."

The Regents already have approved a $15 million new science center and central energy plant for the university that will be under way next spring; and an $8 million student center next in line for funding. The Regents also intend to finance a $5 million central utilities plant.

"So with what we're talking about in replacing the six buildings, we have almost $70 million in likely construction over the next seven to 10 years," he said. "That means a totally transformed campus."


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