LANSING — State Representative Adam Zemke (D-Ann Arbor) congratulated both the University of Michigan and Eastern Michigan University  today on the approval of their capital outlay projects, which will help renovate two pillars of the Washtenaw County campuses — the U-M Dental School, and EMU’s Strong Hall.

“I am pleased that the legislature saw the value in approving these projects” said Rep. Zemke, who serves as the ranking Democrat on the Capital Outlay sub-committee. “Improving access to higher education is incredibly important, and a critical component to this is making sure that the schools and programs we’re providing access to are some of the highest quality in the world. These schools help train the teachers, scientists, doctors and leaders of Michigan’s future, and it’s important that we help aid them in doing that.”

The U-M Dental School is one of the oldest and highest ranked in the country, and the $122 million project will allow the program to modernize its clinical facilities, expand research opportunities and provide a modest addition to their building. The $40 million EMU Strong Hall renovation will help modernize classroom and lab spaces with new technology, and provide flexible use spaces for both research and instruction. Per the capital outlay program, the traditional state share of such projects is a 75 percent match, which caps out at $30 million. U-M will receive $30 million, and EMU will receive $29 million. To proceed with state financing, the projects would need to receive construction authorization in a subsequent appropriation act. Institutions have 2 years following the fiscal year in which the project received planning authorization to receive construction authorization.

“The Strong Hall project demonstrates the University’s commitment to the sciences, and will result in first-class facilities on Eastern’s campus,” said Don Loppnow, Interim President at Eastern Michigan. “I’m excited to think of what we’ll be able to offer our students in terms of the classroom and laboratory experience and academic options.”

“The approval is an important first step to ensure the schools are able to make necessary cosmetic and structural changes,” said Rep. Zemke. “It means that students will now have access to cutting edge technology that prepares them for globally competitive careers. These kinds of renovations do as much to bolster the education of the students as they do to improve the quality of the campus, and I look forward to seeing the changes that will be made.”