This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2016, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
A Utah lawmaker is seeking colleagues' feedback on a bill that would set up a rainy day-type fund for universities requesting state money for new buildings.
Under the plan, the higher education commissioner's office and State Board of Regents would put together a formula rating each of Utah's eight higher education institutions to be used in determining the amount of funding allocated toward campus construction.
Through this competitive process, sponsoring Sen. Steve Urquhart said, he hopes the institutions will "feel some pressure to improve their performance."
Although he doesn't anticipate it will be a "fun process" for the schools or those in charge of rankings, he says it's a necessary move.
"You hear the argument that you don't want to pick favorites among your children that's absolutely the case, but ... these aren't children. These are institutions, and they should be pushed to perform and perform well," said the St. George Republican.
He expressed a desire to involve different organizations, such as the Division of Facilities Construction & Management and the State Building Board to work with state legislators as a way to "depoliticize the process significantly."
The lack of a concrete timeline for implementation concerned Ogden Republican Sen. Ann Millner, a Weber State University professor and former president.
Upon Urquhart's request, the bill was tabled until the next Committee meeting.