Washington State University’s budget requests for the 2018 legislative session include the passage of a negotiated capital budget agreement and two operating budget priorities.
The supplemental operating budget request includes a $1.272 million maintenance level adjustment to implement Senate Bill 5939, which was approved June 30 before the Legislature adjourned its 2017 session. The measure, known commonly as the solar bill, directed the WSU Energy Program to launch and administer a new renewable energy incentive program. Due to an oversight, the bill was not funded in the operating budget that already had been approved.
WSU’s operating budget request also includes $500,000 to hire a full-time director for the Joint Center for Deployment and Research in Earth Abundant Materials, known as JCDREAM. The center was established by the Legislature as a WSU-led advanced materials research initiative in collaboration with the University of Washington and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. In 2015, the state capital budget appropriated $2 million, which was leveraged to secure an extra $1.6 million in extramural funds. But no operating funds have been appropriated to run the center and coordinate research. It is currently being managed by an interim director working at 20 percent time.
The JCDREAM request would not only allow the hiring of a full-time director and support staff to maintain a research portfolio and pursue extramural funds, it also includes a $100,000 competitive grant program mirrored after a similar grant program to bolster research supporting the aerospace industry.
The capital budget agreement reached but not voted on by the Legislature includes funding for the following projects.
- $52 million to construct the Plant Sciences Building in Pullman
- $23 million to start construction of the Global Animal Health Phase II project in Pullman
- $3 million to design a new academic building at WSU Tri-Cities
- $22.3 million to support facility preservation efforts
- $1 million to support STEM teaching lab renovation in Pullman
- $500,000 for the pre-design of a new Life Sciences Building at WSU Vancouver
- $10.1 million for preventative maintenance
- $2 million for additional JCDREAM equipment purchases