University president prioritizes UAF engineering building

The new president of the University of Alaska says completing the half-finished engineering building at the University of Alaska Fairbanks is a top priority.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner reports that University President Jim Johnsen has included a $34.8 million request to complete work on the building in his proposed $134.8 million capital budget for fiscal year 2017.

Work on the building stalled after the Legislature last session did not approve funding for the final phase of construction.

The capital request also includes $50 million for deferred maintenance and $50 million to keep up with current facility maintenance needs. The request is a huge leap from this year’s budget, which included only $3 million for maintenance.

Johnsen took over leadership at the University on Sept. 1.