WSU submits biennial budget proposal for 2021-23

Portion of proposal to fund 10 building renovations, construction projects

WSU submitted a capital budget request for $139,400,000 to the state, which will finance 10 projects, said Kate Kamerrer, WSU executive director of facilities, finance and building services.

COURTESY OF KATE KAMERRER

WSU submitted a capital budget request for $139,400,000 to the state, which will finance 10 projects, said Kate Kamerrer, WSU executive director of facilities, finance and building services.

JENAE LAXSON, Evergreen reporter

WSU submitted a $422.1 million budget proposal for 2021-23, which will finance the construction and renovation of buildings on the WSU Pullman campus.

The proposal includes the capital and operating budget requests, said Kelley Westhoff, WSU executive director of budget, planning and analysis. 

The capital budget is a biennial budget, said Kate Kamerrer, WSU executive director of facilities, finance and building services. 

WSU submitted a capital budget request for $139,400,000 to the state, which will finance 10 projects, she said. 

Johnson Hall, not including the Annex, will be demolished to make room for the new agriculture research building on campus, she said. It will be next to other research facilities, including the Vogel Plant Biosciences Building. 

There will be a new reservoir on campus for fire protection and water, she said. One reservoir is currently out of commission because of a leak.

“We think it is very important because it impedes our ability to provide water for the campus,” Kamerrer said. 

There are also two new pre-designs for the Pullman campus, she said. One design is of a new STEM building for the Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture, and it is possible that an entirely new building will be built, she said. 

The other pre-design is of a new science building, she said. It would house biology classes and possibly some chemistry classes. 

There are also plans for a new STEM teaching library, as well as renovations for the research labs in Clark Hall, she said.

The capital budget will also fund a new patient reservation system at the WSU College of Veterinary Medicine, Kamerrer said. 

The funding from the operating request will be used for some projects on other campuses, Westhoff said. This includes providing funding for the fourth class of WSU’s Elson S. Floyd College of Medicine.

The budget will also pay for the maintenance and operation cost of a new building in the WSU Tri-Cities campus, Westhoff said.

“We also had to submit a 15 percent reduction package in the budget that is required by the state,” she said.

The reduction package is a proposal listing possible reductions in funding the university receives from the state. WSU has to submit a reduction package because the state’s revenue has decreased amid the pandemic, she said. 

WSU submit the budget request as a state agency to the governor’s agency office, she said. The legislature will then debate how the house and the senate want to allocate funds for state agencies and organizations, and propose a budget.

After legislative debates in the Washington House of Representatives and Senate, the governor will approve the budget and have the ability to veto items, Westhoff said. This will be completed by April 2021.

The money comes from state-level funding. Washington does not have an income tax, so it is highly reliant on sales tax. The revenue of the state is in a deficit, she said, and this affects how much money the state will provide the university. 

“Washington’s economic structure is more fragile than other states who have an income tax,” she said. “We do great when the economy is booming.”