Higher Ed Needs Space

Behind-the-scenes negotiations continue to get state Building Commission approval for a multi-million dollar bond issue for higher education campuses, including UT-Knoxville.

The main issues are the amount and who gets what.

Construction projects must be approved by the Building Commission, made up of the governor, the speakers, the constitutional officers, and finance committee members from the House and Senate.

The capital needs of college campuses have been defined by the Tennessee Higher Education Commission, but no one expects much attention being paid to that laundry list of projects. There is some concern about borrowing money during the recession and a time of budget cuts. But higher-ed budgets have been slashed or flat lined in recent years and some capital projects are critical.

It is also a time when idle construction companies might be able to do projects for a lot less money than usual and bond interest is low. When the Legislature meets there will likely be a consensus, or at least a majority, on the Building Commission for a particular proposal.