WT and AC Miss Out on Millions of Stimulus Funding

Danita McAnally, Dean of Assessment and Development, Amarillo College
Danita McAnally, Dean of Assessment and Development, Amarillo College
Dr. J. Pat O'Brien, WTAMU President
Dr. J. Pat O'Brien, WTAMU President

Amarillo College and West Texas A&M University missed out on millions of federal stimulus dollars.

Texas legislators were given the task of distributing the state's higher education share of the $700 billion worth of federal stimulus money.

$111 million dollars in state-allocated federal funding, and not a dime is coming to the Texas Panhandle.

Danita McAnally is the Dean of Assessment and Development at AC. She says, "If all of us are going to be taxpayers paying this extra money for the stimulus, why shouldn't the panhandle benefit?"

WT President Dr. J. Pat O'Brien says, "The legislature had to make choices. They made those choices and apparently other things were considered to be of higher priority in terms of legislative criteria."

There could be a light at the end of the tunnel though... Both AC and WT have the chance to go directly to the federal government for grant money. McAnally says, "I read the act then built a spread sheet of which ones would fit. Then we wait for which ones get funded."

AC wants the money to expand its healthcare and renewable energy programs. WT wants to expand its engineering department.

Dr. O'Brien says, "We need to expand engineering into civil, environmental and electrical engineering. 10,000 square feet is not going to do it, so what we've got to do is find additional space."

Despite the fact that their $11 million request to build more space was denied, WT is still going forward with the expansion, but that means there will be some trade-offs.

Dr. O'Brien says, "Renovations to other buildings that we have to do, so we're going to have to push those back a little bit. Deferred maintenance, we're going to have to push that back a little bit."

It could be several years before AC and WT find out if they will receive any federal grant money.