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Published: Tuesday, 11/14/2006

UT board OKs new pharmacy building

The University of Toledo's campuses will receive a facelift of glass and steel after its board of trustees yesterday authorized the hiring of design firms and the issuance of $63.1 million in bonds to cover some of the construction costs.

The board added to UT's master facilities plan a new 43,000-square-foot college of pharmacy building on the health science campus, which was the Medical University of Ohio before the two institutions merged last summer.

"The quickest, cheapest way to get additional labs and research space is to build this platform," said UT President Dr. Lloyd Jacobs, explaining that the new pharmacy building would free up the college's current main campus home, Wolfe Hall, for other laboratory classes.

The board approved the hiring of the Poggemeyer Design Group, which is headquartered in Bowling Green, as the architect for the $15 million project, which the state government is expected to finance in its capital budget.

The board also passed a resolution to let the administration hire a firm for the $30 million renovation of Savage Hall, the university's basketball arena.

As part of that resolution, the board agreed to refurbish Memorial Field House on the main campus at a price of $25 million. Closed for several years, the Field House will be given 80,000 square feet of auditoriums and classrooms by BHDP Architecture, of Cincinnati.

The choice to hire a firm outside of Toledo drew the ire of Trustees Thomas Brady and Hernan Vasquez.

"It's disappointing to me that with the architectural and engineering firms in this area, we have to go outside," Mr. Brady said.

Dr. Jacobs responded that the university is legally obligated to go with the lowest offer.

"If there's a tie, we take the local one," Dr. Jacobs said.

Mr. Vasquez wanted assurances that area companies would not be lost in the bidding process and attempted to amend a separate resolution to include local businesses as a component of how UT evaluates bids. Definitions were a problem for the amendment.

"What's 'local,'" asked Trustee William Koester, who founded an industrial automation business in Defiance. "To me, local is Defiance. What's local to you?"

That simple question has flummoxed politicians, professors, and corporate presidents. The board chose to table discussion of the resolution until a future meeting.

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