DOE, DSIU and UD asked for millions Friday.

Educational groups seek millions for capital needs

Jarek Rutz Headlines, Education

DOE, DSIU and UD asked for millions Friday.

DOE, DSIU and UD asked for millions Friday.

The Department of Education, Delaware State University and the University of Delaware requested millions of dollars from the state Friday for critical and minor capital projects.

Leaders from the three bodies presented their requests to the Joint Capital Improvement Committee. 

Also known as the Bond Committee, it’s made up of six state representatives and six state senators who are responsible for writing the annual Bond Bill, which supports capital projects.

Here’s what was requested:

DOE: $216,081,500

Given existing funding pressures we did not approve any requests for new projects in the fiscal year 2024 capital budget,” said Secretary of Education Mark Holodick. “That doesn’t mean there aren’t needs in our districts and schools, as many of you probably know from the schools in your own communities.”

Many districts have pressing needs, he said, but as the Department of Education developed its budget request this year, the top priority was the $188.8 million necessary for previously authorized projects to ensure their progress toward completion.

The department is also prioritizing $15 million for minor capital improvement and equipment as well as architectural barrier removal.

These priorities left no room for new projects, Holodick said. 

“We understand the disappointment of some of our district colleagues and recognize the challenges they’re facing and we hope that in future budget years, our request will be able to include some, if not many of those needs,” he said. 

Jen Carlson, director of finance at the department, outlined the other requests aligned with Gov. John Carney’s fiscal year 2024 recommended budget:

  • $97,787,300 for market pressure contingency 
  • $93,996,200 for ongoing projects
  • $15 million for minor capital improvements
  • $9,138,000 for safety and security
  • $160,000 for architectural barrier removal

Money for market pressure contingency reflects the rising cost of materials needed to complete some projects.

For example, Jay Owens, superintendent of the Indian River School District, told the Joint Capital Improvement Committee that in 2020, the district’s projects cost $162 million. Just three years later, those same projects cost $187.6 million.

Delaware State University: $25.8 million

Here’s what DSU is asking for:

  • $10 million for deferred maintenance
  • $5 million for a aviation hangar renovation project
  • $5 million for athletics transformation and updating athletic facilities
  • $2.8 million to upgrade technology infrastructure
  • $2.5 million for the Interdisciplinary Rehabilitation Research Center, which replaces the old Dover Library
  • $500,000 to renovate the Hope House, a building dedicated to a sexual assault response and prevention program on campus

University of Delaware: $52 million

Here’s what UD is asking for:

  • $30 million for deferred maintenance in academic facilities 
  • $7 million for the National Institute for Innovation in Manufacturing Biopharmaceuticals
  • $15 million for the Securing American Biomanufacturing Research & Education Center

RELATED: College budget hearings bring up safety, salary concerns

Gov. John Carney has recommended the following in his fiscal year 2024 state budget:

  • $20 million – Deferred maintenance, capital improvements and technology upgrades at both DSU and UD.
  • $1.5 million –Joint Engineering Program between DSU and UD
    $1.4 million – Increase for First State PROMISE Scholarship at UD, with total scholarship amount of $16,542,800
  • $4 million – Increase for SEED+ for DelTech and UD for total amount of $14,165,700
  • $1.7 million – Increase to INSPIRE scholarship for DSU, for total amount of $8,584,800

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