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Proposition 203 would provide for crucial education facilities at UCI, Orange County and California; analysts say bond measure will provide much-needed economic boost.

IRVINE, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--March 8, 1996--Proposition 203, the Public Education Facilities Bond Act on the March 26 California primary ballot, would provide funding for building and repairing of facilities at UC Irvine and at schools throughout Orange County and the state, according to UC Irvine Chancellor Laurel Wilkening.

The bond measure would also create new employment opportunities in Orange County.

Funds generated from the $3 billion bond measure will be used throughout the state to repair school facilities, add desperately needed classrooms, and integrate technology necessary to prepare students to compete in the growing global economy.

If proposition 203 passes, UCI will receive approximately $47 million to fund seismic retrofitting of existing facilities at the 30-year-old campus. Equally important, the measure will fund state-of-the-art equipment and new facilities which will enable the university to maintain and improve its position as one of the premier research institutions in the country, and to invest in academic programs that address important social and economic issues at the local, regional and national levels.

"Proposition 203 is important to the future of education in Orange County, not just at UCI, but at all levels of education," Wilkening said. "Its funds would be used for crucial projects benefiting thousands of students in K-12, community colleges, the state university system and the UC system. Moreover, it will give the state and county a significant economic boost."

All projects identified to receive Prop. 203 funding have been approved by the state for development and/or completion, but unless the bond measure is passed, those and future projects cannot be funded. Analysts say the measure, which guarantees funding for hundreds of specific public school projects throughout the state and Orange County, will not raise taxes, and will not jeopardize the state's debt level. Further, it is estimated that the measure will create 86,000 new construction jobs throughout the state.

UCI projects approved for funding if Prop. 203 passes are:

UCI Medical Center Academic Laboratory. Funds will be used to replace 12 buildings that house laboratory facilities and offices at UCI Medical Center in Orange with "poor" or "very poor" earthquake safety ratings. The project includes a 35,800-square-foot facility for research laboratories and support space, as well as faculty and administrative offices.

Social Sciences. Funds will be used to upgrade the existing facility to meet earthquake standards, create additional space and purchase educational equipment. The project will include instructional laboratories and general assignment classrooms, as well as academic research facilities.

Humanities and Fine Arts Facilities. Funds will be used to build a new music facility which will include rehearsal studios, music theory laboratories, an electronic music studio, a music library, and faculty offices and studios. The new building also will provide temporary accommodations for music and drama students/faculty while existing facilities undergo seismic upgrades. Instructional equipment for the humanities building, which is currently under construction, also will be funded.

Environmental Health and Safety. Funds will be used to plan and build waste handling and technical/analytical laboratory facilities, as well as to consolidate various EH&S functions and correct serious space deficiencies created by an increase in staffing of more than 75 percent during the past five years. That growth parallels increased enrollment in the schools of science and engineering.

Administration Building. Funds will be used to upgrade the building, which is currently rated "poor" for seismic safety, and needs to be re-modeled to meet Americans with Disabilities Act requirements. Built in 1973, this six-story building houses offices of the registrar, admissions, student financial aid, and a wide variety of administrative offices.

Humanities Office Building. Funds will be used for seismic retrofitting and space renovation -- including improvements to meet accessibility and life safety code requirements -- for this 30-year-old facility.

Overall, Prop. 203 authorizes approximately $2.025 billion statewide for Kindergarten-through-12th grade bonds, and $975 million for higher education bonds.

CONTACT: Nadine Wilck Public Relations

Nadine Wilck, 714/644-7110
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Date:Mar 8, 1996
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