No ETSU humanities building funding in governor's budget

Johnson City Press • Feb 4, 2020 at 5:31 PM

East Tennessee State University did not receive funding for a new humanities building, but was allocated $3.47 million for HVAC repairs across campus in Gov. Bill Lee’s proposed budget for the 2020-21 fiscal year.

In a statement to the Johnson City Press Tuesday afternoon, ETSU President Brian Noland highlighted what the institution will receive, but did not address not receiving funding for the proposed $72 million humanities building.

“Governor Lee continues to provide significant funding increases for higher education across the state, and this includes strong support for ETSU,” Noland’s statement read. “If the budget is approved, this fall ETSU will have its largest state appropriation in the institution’s history, potentially receiving just over $122 million.”

The budget also provides additional investment in salary enhancements for “eligible employees” and $1.1 million to recruit pediatric surgeons and subspecialists, which will benefit the Quillen College of Medicine and Niswonger Children’s Hospital.

“I am very grateful for Governor Lee’s continued support of higher education and for the many ways he is empowering ETSU to continue achieving its mission to improve the quality of life for the people of this region,” Noland said. “As the legislative session continues, I look forward to working closely with Governor Lee, his staff, and our elected officials.”

The proposed budget still has to go through the Tennessee General Assembly, where additional changes could be made. On Thursday, Lee will deliver a “State of East Tennessee” address at ETSU in the Millennium Center Ballroom.

Speaking to the Press in July, Noland said getting funding for the new building was “a priority,” but said he wasn’t expecting to receive the funding for at least another year.

“The Tennessee Higher Education Commission has changed the way they do capital (projects), so they’ve prioritized projects based upon need,” Noland said. “We were number nine on the list two years ago; we were number five on the list next year,” he said of the humanities building project. “I suspect next year, we’ll be two or three.

“Let’s look at the Martin Center (for the Arts) — Martin went on the capital list in the ’80s,” Noland continued. “It took forever to move through that process.”

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