We respectfully bring to your attention the dire consequences that will occur at the possible elimination of the State’s only accredited four-year construction management program. Construction was responsible for 227,000 direct and indirect jobs in 2007 and continuing into 2008 and 2009. Such a decision will result in an accident waiting to happen. Direct construction spending contributes $27 billion to Nevada’s coffers annually and accounts for 21 % of its gross domestic product. The construction management program plays a key industry role. It is short-sighted to eliminate the program, especially since it would save less than 3% of the total budget cuts proposed. Yet, the outlook for the future construction growth is significant.
The university’s most generous and significant gifts have come from the construction and development community, which has given over $50 million to the school since its inception. News of the program’s potential elimination prompted its industry advisory board to contact many major university donors such as real estate developer Irwin Molasky, who contributed a portion of the land where UNLV stands today, American Nevada Company’s Brian Greenspun, who built the Greenspun School of Urban Affairs. Other significant school backers contacted include Tito Tiberti, Robert Mendenhall, Mark Fine, Tony Marnell, and Tom Thomas representing the Thomas & Mack families. Their names grace several campus buildings, and routinely appear atop the list of university contributors. Each and every one of them support our position 100%.
Please consider the following points before making a final budget decision.
• Clark County School District has invested $500 million in creating four new Career and Technical Academies; up to 2,000 students are currently preparing for university-level construction, engineering and architecture studies. Shuttering the program will drive these students out of state to pursue their higher education goals.
• The construction management program has the highest placement percentages of all university degrees currently offered. Graduates also garner some of the highest starting salaries, thereby making for a lucrative pool for future alumni donors.
• UNLV boasts the state’s only accredited construction management program. It recently achieved a six-year program reaccreditation from the nation’s most renowned construction accreditation group. It would take a decade or more for any other higher education school to reach the same milestone.
• There are currently only two states without an accredited construction management program, and both are less than one-third as populous as Nevada.
• Over $250,000 in direct contributions and scholarships during the last five years are jeopardized with the program’s potential elimination, as well as $350,000 in future industry commitments. There have also been over $100,000 of in-kind contributions to the program, including the new Perini Building Co. computer laboratory. Construction has additionally provided over $1 million in industry internships.
• The program curriculum is vital toward developing leaders in sustainable construction and green energy. Currently, Nevada and most of its municipalities have policies in place requiring minimum green building standards.
All of us in the construction industry are deeply aware of the state’s current financial dilemma and we respect the difficult decision that you have to make; eliminating the construction management program is a short-sighted band-aid fix. It will only create new problems in the future. Strategic planning and long term investment are required to resurrect Nevada’s once robust economy. George Mason University studies show that $1 billion in nonresidential construction spending generates $2 billion in state gross domestic product; it will additionally create 17,000 new jobs with roughly $670 million in personal earnings.
The construction management program is a key catalyst for fiscal recovery. Its removal carries long-term, multi-faceted and irreversible consequences that include fewer jobs and less economy activity, thereby reducing Nevada’s tax base and university involvement from affluent contributors. Secure our future. Remove construction management from your list of proposed budget cuts. We respectfully ask that you consider our concerns before it’s too late.