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New UAF Life Sciences Building Provides Education and Economic Benefit


December 12, 2009, Anchorage, Alaska - Governor Sean Parnell today announced he will include funding for the University of Alaska Life Sciences Facility in his FY2011 capital budget. The facility, located in Fairbanks, will provide Alaskans statewide with a multi-purpose teaching-research facility capable of educating future scientists, as well as providing cutting-edge research in health and environmental issues important to Alaskans.  Governor Parnell’s number one priority is positioning Alaska’s economy for growth and families for opportunities.

“Advancement of science in this state is vital to the economic engine of the future,” Governor Parnell said. “With the increased academic rigor at the high school level as a result of the Governor’s Performance Scholarship program, we will see more students excel in post-secondary education and training in math and science, which will help them be successful when competing for high-paying jobs in Alaska.”

In the short term, the new facility will create up to 370 construction jobs over the construction period. Additional direct and indirect labor and economic benefits for Fairbanks and Southcentral could exceed $250 million. 

“I appreciate the support of the Interior delegation,” Governor Parnell said. “I am especially thankful for the advocacy during the past two weeks of Senator John Coghill and Representative Mike Kelly to make this project a reality.”

Research is a vital component of the state’s economy. For every dollar of state investment, as much as $6 of outside funds are generated. Over the past 10 years, the university has generated up to $130 million per year in research funding. The National Science Foundation and the National Institutes of Health have an abundance of resources and support and present tremendous opportunity for this new facility. Attracting top researchers will further influence the success of competitive grant funding for projects and jobs all over the state.  

The governor’s budget will include $88.9 million requiring approval from the Legislature for financing through certificates of participation, and $20.6 million in bond financing through the University of Alaska to construct the Life Sciences Facility. 

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