Nevada to Cut Projects

Wed September 01, 2004 - West Edition

CARSON CITY, NV (AP) Hundreds of millions of dollars worth of construction projects sought by Nevada government agencies may have to be cut by the state Public Works Board.

The panel on Aug. 24 started going through $645.4 million worth of requests for new building projects from state agencies, with more than half coming from the University and Community College System of Nevada.

Of the total request, $505 million would come from the state. But the state has only $156.9 million available in bonding capacity plus $35 million in cash to finance the projects during the next two years.

Given the big difference between funding sources and project costs, many of the requested projects won’t be funded, said Gus Nunez, assistant general manager of the public works board.

It will be up to the board at its next meeting to prioritize the projects and then submit that list to Gov. Kenny Guinn, who will make a recommendation to the 2005 Legislature.

The university system is asking for $347.3 million, of which $223.9 million would be in state funds and the rest from other sources. The state prison system is asking for $66.7 million and the Human Resources Department is asking for $65 million. The prison and human resources projects would need to be funded completely with state money.

The biggest single projects proposed are a $50 million science and math education center at the University of Nevada, Reno, and the $40 million Hank Greenspun College of Urban Affairs at UNLV.

UNLV is proposing to use $16 million in private contributions to pay for part of that. In early 2002, the Greenspun family, which publishes the Sun, pledged up to $12 million for that new building.

The Nevada State College in Henderson wants $9 million in state money to complete its classroom and lab building.

Before the $32.2 million, 180-bed new state mental hospital is completed in Las Vegas, the state Division of Mental Health and Developmental Services wants to spend $5.9 million to add a fourth pod with 40 more beds.

The division also is requesting $25.2 million for an additional 30 beds at the Lake’s Crossing center for the criminally insane in Sparks.

State prison officials want to build a 200-bed Women’s Re-Entry Center in North Las Vegas similar to the Casa Grande halfway house for men now being developed in Clark County to get inmates ready for their release from custody.