Inflation Impacting UI Capital Projects
The rapid increase of inflation this year has impacted each one of us in a variety of ways. At the University of Idaho, inflation has led to cost overruns for several key capital projects. And while overruns are not abnormal when it comes to construction, the size of that overrun is what has school officials looking for additional funding sources.
Michael Parrella, dean of the College of Agricultural and Life Sciences, noted they have seen a sizeable increase in the price tag of their Parma project. But despite that cost increase, he says the school still feels very comfortable moving forward with the multimillion dollar project that will update and expand the southwest Idaho research center.
“We are going back to the Legislature for a supplemental request to cover that overage as well. Again, we’ll have to see how those costs come out, but it’s not uncommon for other entities within the state that are trying to build something to go to the Legislature for additional funding. So, we’re optimistic there.”
Parrella noted the health of the state economy, which has resulted in a budget surplus, is reason for encouragement. Unfortunately, Parma is not the only project that has seen costs greatly increase this year. He noted they will also go to lawmakers to ask for assistance for Vandal Brand Meats on the Moscow campus.
“We thought we could do that between the University and stakeholders, but it turns out that is not correct with these cost overruns we’re going to need some legislative support. So, we’re going back to the Legislature this year for additional support for Vandal Brand Meats. I’m optimistic we can get that and we can still be on the same timeline.”
Parrella noted that college and University officials have taken a hard look at several projects to determine what course of action should be taken. He said one of the last things the U of I wants to do is overpay for projects, even if they are needed.
Parrella noted one of the other large capital projects, CAFE, which had a ground breaking earlier this year, is still on schedule for dairy cows and researchers over the next two years.
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