Monday, May 12, 2008


Gov. Bill Ritter signed bipartisan legislation today allowing the state to move ahead with more than $200 million in construction projects at colleges and universities across Colorado.
Surrounded by legislators, higher-education leaders and college students, Gov. Ritter signed Senate Bill 233 at the construction site for the Auraria Higher Education Center's new Science Building, scheduled for completion in 2010.
SB 233 was sponsored by Sens. Sue Windels and Suzanne Williams and Reps. Jim Riesberg and Don Marostica. With broad bipartisan support in the legislature, the bill allows the state to issue Certificates of Participation to speed up higher-ed construction projects aroundColorado.
"Higher education is about hope and promise and opportunity," Gov. Ritter said. "That's why we are here today. This hole in the ground is going to be filled with a world class building that will provide opportunities for thousands of students so they can achieve their full potential.
"This hole is a metaphor as well. When our state fell into a recession in the early part of this decade, progress was put on hold. Budgets were cut and building projects were cancelled. To be sure, there is still much work to do, but we are making real progress. We're getting higher education back on track. We are climbing out of the hole." 
"This is a great step forward for the future of higher education in Colorado," Sen. Williams said. "But our work is far from over. There are other holes in our state's higher education system and we are committed to working hard to address them this year and beyond."  
Projects slated to receive funding from the Certificates of Participation based on current market conditions:
Institution / Project                            COP Contribution                  Total Project Cost
1. UNC/ Butler-Hancock Renovation  $11.6 million                           $11.6 million
2. Colorado Northwestern                    $21.3 million                           $23.5 million              
Community College /
Academic Bldg., Craig Campus

3. CSU-Pueblo / Academic                  $22 million                              $22 million
Resources Center Remodel
4. Colorado School of Mines /             $6.7 million                             $6.7 million
Brown Hall Addition
5. CSU / Clark Bldg. Revitalization      $2 million                                $2 million
6. Auraria Science Building                 $63.6 million                           $85.8 million
7. Western State College /                    $21 million                              $21 million
Taylor Hall Reno. and Addition          
8. Mesa State / Wubben Hall                $14.8 million                           $18.4 million
Expansion and Renovation
9. UCCS // Renovation of                    $17.1 million                           $17.1 million
Existing Science Building
10. Morgan Comm. College /               $4.7 million                             $4.9 million
Nursing, Tech & Science Bldg.
11. FRCC / Larimer Campus,               $14.2 million                           $14.8 million
Science Classroom Project
12. Adams State / Richardson              $12.6 million                           $14 million
Hall Renovation and Addition
If market conditions improve, up to five additional projects would receive Certificate of Participation funding. Click here to see all 17 projects listed in House Joint Resolution 1048.
Gov. Ritter today also signed Senate Bill 133, sponsored by Sen. Brandon Shaffer and Rep. Andy Kerr, which establishes a scholarship program for teachers in high-demand subjects.
"Teach for Colorado Scholarships" will help student teachers pay for tuition, fees and books necessary to complete a bachelor's degree in mathematics, science, special education, and other high-demand teaching areas.
"Scholarships for student-teachers are an effective way to address teacher shortages in high-demand areas such as math, science, special education and English Language Acquisition," Gov. Ritter said.
"Study after study shows us that high quality education starts with high quality teachers," Sen. Shaffer said. "Today we are removing barriers for prospective educators by offering incentives to complete their teaching degrees. This is a win for students, for teachers and for the future of Colorado."
"Colorado's students must be prepared to compete for 21st century jobs," Rep. Kerr said. "Recruiting and retaining the best teachers in the fields of math and science will ensure Colorado kids come out ahead."