NORMAN, Okla. (AP) _ Congress has appropriated $16 million for the construction of a new weather research center at the University of Oklahoma.
``The construction of the weather center will be one of the most important events in the history of our state in terms of its impact on economic development,'' OU President David Boren said.
Boren said the center will give Oklahoma a chance to join other states where research centers have attracted new businesses.
Bills including funding for the new National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration facility now go to President Bush.
The money was included in two bills funding the Department of Commerce, Justice and State and the Treasury and Postal Operations for fiscal year 2002.
The Commerce, Justice and State bill, which includes half of the federal funding, was sent to the president on Thursday. The other $8 million was included in the other bill, which was sent to President Bush earlier this month.
The proposed 200,000-square-foot center will house NOAA facilities and OU's School of Meteorology.
Boren said collaboration between OU and federal weather researchers has saved several lives across the country through early warning of tornadoes and severe storms. The new center, he said, will further strengthen those efforts.