Energy bill expected to top $5 million

Saturday, March 3rd 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

OKMULGEE, Okla. (AP) _ Due to soaring natural gas prices, the energy bill for Oklahoma State University's campuses is expected to be $5 million more than normal projections for fiscal year 2001, a school official says.

Cecil Strande, director of internal auditing at Oklahoma State, outlined the prospects during a meeting Friday of the Board of Regents for the Oklahoma A&M Colleges.

Strande said heating bills for A&M colleges such as Langston University, Panhandle State University and Northeastern Oklahoma A&M College are expected to be about $950,000 higher.

The state Regents for Higher Education have said at least $12 million will be needed to bail out the state higher education system, which includes 25 colleges and universities.

Maryanne Maletz, vice chancellor for budget and finance for state regents, said the Legislature is working to find the money needed to cover the increased fuel costs for higher education.

Oklahoma's colleges and universities could use $18.9 million to cover the increased costs of natural gas but can get by on $12 million, Maletz said.

In other business Friday, the OSU regents voted unanimously to approve a Tulsa architectural firm to design the first phase of the OSU-Tulsa research and laboratory building.

Dewberry Design Group Inc. will design the $25 million research facility. The group is expected to receive about $1.5 million in architectural fees for its work, said OSU assistant vice president John D. Houck.

The regents also named John Lamberton as director of environmental management programs at OSU-Tulsa.

Lamberton said the graduate program has grown from 12 graduate students to 50 students during the past two years.

He said environmental management graduates are becoming critical employees for Tulsa businesses and agencies needing staff that is aware of environmental issues.