Rogers says UA to boost enrollment, reach

Posted: Thursday, January 13, 2011

FAIRBANKS — University of Alaska Fairbanks Chancellor Brian Rogers said Tuesday that the campus plans to boost its outreach to international students to help increase enrollment in the years ahead.

Speaking at the Greater Fairbanks Chamber of Commerce luncheon, Rogers said he hopes UAF can become an “international student center,” specifically mentioning India and China as possible sources for enrollment. He said more foreign student participation will boost opportunity and add tuition revenue to the campus.

Rogers said agreements to provide mining and petroleum engineering training to visiting Chinese students have been reached in the past two months.

Rogers also said UA intends to take a hard look at its facility repair backlog, including a $100 million maintenance bond proposal that will be considered by the Legislature in the months ahead.

He highlighted the aging UAF power plant, which is nearing the end of its life, as a top replacement priority. Roughly $38 million is needed to update the almost 50-year-old facility, which provides heat and electricity to the Fairbanks campus.

“There are no new capital projects,” he said, referring to future spending requests. “Our focus is on maintaining what we have.”

The most high-profile construction project on campus in the years ahead will be the life sciences classroom and laboratory building. In November, voters approved a statewide bond package with money to build it. Anchorage-based Davis Constructors and Engineers was selected to complete the design for the project, which has an estimated price tag of $109 million.

Rogers said the seven bidders for the project included six Anchorage contractors and one that was divided between Anchorage and Fairbanks. He said experience working north of the Alaska Range was a mandatory element of the bids, and that Davis has a strong record of local hire on its previous local projects.

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