KINGSTON, R.I. -- November 4, 2010 -- Thanks to the support of thousands of voters, the 2010 Higher Education Bond Referendum #2 has been approved. This essential bond won approval with over 55 percent of the vote in Tuesday's election, representing 30 of 39 cities and towns in Rhode Island.
Passage of the referendum provides $78 million in general obligation bonds to finance a new Center for Chemical and Forensic Sciences at the University of Rhode Island ($61 million) and the renovation of and an addition to the Rhode Island College Art Center ($17 million).
"This was a big victory, and it had a big, energetic and enthusiastic team of supporters -- from alumni, to students, faculty, staff, to coalitions of business and labor. All were behind the campaign to inform the public of the need for this new Center for Chemical and Forensic Sciences," said Robert M. Beagle, vice president of the Division of University Advancement.
Over a five-year period, these building projects are expected to create about 1,200 jobs in the construction trades, engineering, management, teaching, and research. When completed, the new chemistry center will allow faculty to compete more effectively for research grants, and move scientific discoveries into the marketplace more rapidly. As Rhode Island seeks to generate business and jobs, an educated workforce in these disciplines is vital.
"We are also deeply appreciative for the many organizations around the State who got behind this referendum with their financial support, their endorsements, and their time. It is refreshing to see how many Rhode Islanders believe in their University and our role as an important ingredient in the state's economic development. Thank you, Rhode Island!" Beagle added.
The new Center at URI also will provide the resources needed one of the nationís key resources for research and training in the battle against terrorism - the U.S. Department of Homeland Securityís Center of Excellence in Explosives Detection, Mitigation, and Response.