HSC Slated To Receive Money for Capital Improvements as Legislature Approves Tuition Revenue Bonds for Texas Schools

The Texas Legislature sent a bill to the governorâ??s desk on Monday authorizing the sale of tuition revenue bonds to finance capital improvements at institutions of higher education throughout the state.

UNT Health Science Centerâ??s request for $42 million for a public health and education building was on the list of 63 projects across the state that were included with the passage of House Bill 153.

The bill, originally approved by the House last week, allowed state colleges and universities to issue more than $3.5 billion in tuition revenue bonds. The Senate cut the amount to $1.8 billion worth of projects with its revision and approval on Sunday. The House approved the changed bill and sent it to the governor on Monday.

â??This gives us the needed funding to continue the momentum of our growth in education, research and patient care,â? said Ronald Blanck, DO, president of UNT Health Science Center. â??All of us at the health science center are grateful to our legislators for their recognition of our needs and our excellence.â?

During the 2005 regular legislative session, tuition revenue bond requests stalled. Higher education officials had hoped to revisit the bond requests in the special session scheduled this March and gain funding for capital projects throughout the state.

Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst said passage of the bill during this special session has â??ensured that the future of higher education in Texas is bright and that we can prepare our future leaders.â?

Tuition revenue bonds are issued by institutions of higher education. While authorized, bonds have not been funded. Funding will be discussed during the next regular session of the Legislature in January 2007.

The health science center requested the funding as part of its master planning process to integrate newly purchased land adjacent to its main campus.

The property, which had housed the Osteopathic Medical Center of Texas, was purchased in April 2005 by the health science center. A master planning process began shortly after the purchase of the property to help determine best usage.

State Senator Jane Nelson was instrumental in securing approval for the measure, especially for the health science center.
â??We have a unique opportunity to allow a land-locked university to expand and support additional students,â? Sen. Nelson said in a press release May 15. â??This project will also help patients across Texas who are going to benefit as this center graduates more highly-skilled health care providers.â?

Sen. Nelson is chair of the Senate Committee on Health and Human Services. She represents District 12, which includes the health science center campus.

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Contact: Kay Colley 817-735-2553, cell 817-980-5090, e-mail kacolley@hsc.unt.edu.

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