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Bill would expand oversight of UConn 2000

by Karen A. Grava - March 20, 2006

The Higher Education and Employment Advancement Committee of the General Assembly last week unanimously approved a bill that would expand oversight for UConn 2000, while maintaining the University’s day-to-day responsibility for the program.

“The bill takes a very reasonable and fair approach,” said Scott Brohinsky, director of University Relations.

“It provides appropriate oversight and internal and external checks and balances on the UConn 2000 program, while enabling the University to continue its building and infrastructure improvements.”

Greater oversight for the $2.3 billion program to enhance, renew, and rebuild the University’s campuses would be achieved by requiring financial audits of UConn 2000 projects and establishing a construction management oversight committee.

The committee would review and approve construction project policies and procedures, assess the University’s performance in adhering to the approved policies and procedures.

It would also review the performance of the overall program every two years.

The oversight committee would report its findings to the Board of Trustees on a regular basis.

There are other significant provisions in the bill: the University’s authority to use a variety of project delivery methods is clarified.

An inventory of deferred maintenance needs and an estimate of the associated costs must be completed, with the information submitted to the General Assembly by October 2006.

The bill also provides that building and fire code compliance will be enforced by continuing the arrangement between the University and the state Department of Public Safety for the duration of the UConn 2000 program.

The University is in the 11th year of the 20-year UConn 2000 program. The bill resulted from recommendations made by a commission appointed by Gov. M. Jodi Rell after UConn identified problems with the program last year.

The bill is expected to be referred to several legislative committees prior to final action by the House of Representatives and Senate. The session is scheduled to conclude on May 3.

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