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May 9, 2005 :: Historic Capital Bond Passage Leads to Brighter Future for Oklahoma’s Public Colleges and Universities

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Higher education in the state of Oklahoma has a brighter future thanks to the $475 million capital bond issue and $25 million bond bank signed into law by Gov. Brad Henry on March 31. Part of the proceeds from the state’s education lottery, passed in 2004, will be used to pay the debt for the capital bonds.

During the past few years, Oklahoma’s public colleges and universities have experienced record enrollments while the campuses struggled to continue providing a quality learning experience in facilities that were crowded and outdated.

The last statewide higher education capital improvement plan was approved in 1992.

The capital bond issue was part of the higher education legislative agenda in 2004. It was not acted upon, but Gov. Henry announced that the capital needs of higher education would be a top priority for the 2005 session.

A funding formula and list of 140 individual projects in 36 communities was unanimously supported by the presidents of the 25 colleges and universities in the state, and a major public education effort was launched in December 2004. This included public presentations, informational videos for each campus, fact sheets, student involvement and an informative Web site.

“Funds provided through this capital bond issue will enable our public colleges and universities to continue offering their students a first-rate, quality education in facilities that are second to none,” Chancellor Paul G. Risser said. “We are very pleased that our legislative leaders understand the importance of higher education and worked together to pass this historic piece of legislation. Its benefits will be seen for many years to come.”

This summer, a conference and workshop will be held to help the campuses develop the types of facilities that make the best use of technology and current thinking about creating powerful learning environments.

As the capital bond process moves forward and projects begin, information will continue to be available online at www.capbond05.info.