WAVE 3 Investigates: The future of UofL projects with proposed state funding cuts

By Caton Bredar

LOUISVILLE (WAVE) -- Despite a proposed 15 percent cut in the state's educational funding, University of Louisville officials Wednesday unveiled plans for a new $15 million location for its college of business graduate program. The program will move downtown, into Museum Plaza by 2010. But as WAVE 3's Caton Bredar reports, the future of other projects in the wake of the budget cuts remains uncertain.

U of L's president, Dr. James Ramsey, said quoting Metro Mayor Jerry Abramson "That great universities help make great communities." But can a university remain great in the midst of a state budget crisis?  Ramsey terms the governor's recently proposed 12 percent budget cut, on top of an earlier 3 percent cut, a worst case scenario.

"3 percent is 3 percent. Roughly $5-million. Another 12 percent is another $20-million, a total of a $25-million cut," Ramsey said.

While projects like the new downtown campus for the School of Business will move forward without state funding. Ramsey says, "The impacts on the University of Louisville are going to be devastating."

Nearly $25-million worth of state cuts could ultimately move the university back seven years.

"It would take our state appropriations back to the level today, that it was in 2001," said Ramsey.

Back in 2001, there was no Patterson Field yet, no lacrosse field, no Yum Center, no library extension or natatorium.

"These cuts will be devastating. We're a very different institution because we're attracting the very best students," Ramsey said. "We're a very different institution because of our commitment to the economic development of our community and of our state."

And without continued support from the state, Ramsey says, "It's a very legitimate question whether we can afford to move forward."

There are no easy answers.

"Our response is, we can't afford not to," said Ramsey.

U of L is holding out hope for future changes to the budget. In the meantime, Ramsey won't indicate which programs might be directly impacted or what the cuts will translate to in tuition hikes.

Online Reporter:  Caton Bredar

Online Producer: Charles Gazaway