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Wyoming Lawmakers Cut UW Block Grant, Fund Projects

Tracie Perkins, Townsquare Media
Tracie Perkins, Townsquare Media

The University of Wyoming’s block grant is nearly $6 million smaller following the Wyoming Legislature’s budget session that wrapped up Friday, but UW will receive funding for its top priority.

Legislators voted to cut UW’s state block grant by $5.79 million for the 2017-2018 biennium.

Lawmakers did not approve funding pay raises for UW or state employees.

UW spokesman Chad Baldwin says the administration is evaluating university programs to see where money could be saved.

“We’re going to have to tighten our belts along with everyone else,” says Baldwin. “That said, it’s not going to be easy. There’s not money just sitting around that can be cut.”

“It’s going to require some difficult decisions by the administration and the Board of Trustees, but that’s the reality of the economic situation in Wyoming right now,” says Baldwin.

The Legislature approved a $5 million one-time appropriation for UW’s highest priority — to upgrade reporting and financial systems. Lawmakers instructed UW to direct $5 million of the block grant toward the effort, and UW will give another $10 million to the project.

UW will receive $2.3 million in recurring funds for Science Initiative programs. The Legislature allocated a $100 million in total for the construction of a Science Initiative facility – lawmakers appropriated $3 million to buy property north of campus for the new building and other potential projects.

The Legislature allocated $14.5 million to finance the construction of the Engineering Education and Research Building, bringing the total price tag for what will be the largest construction undertaking in UW history to $105 million. Construction is slated to begin late this year or in early 2017.

Among other appropriations, the Legislature approved $8 million in matching funds for the UW Athletics Department – a reduction of $5 million from what was allocated for the current fiscal year.

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