As reported by the Journal Inquirer, March 27, 2010.

UConn, with Eye on $100 Million in Federal Funds, Gets $8 Million to Rehab a Health Center Building

By Don Michak

University of Connecticut officials already are "vigorously working" to secure the $100 million in federal funds set aside in the health care overhaul bill for a public university research hospital, a spokesman said Friday.

Under a provision U.S. Sen. Christopher J. Dodd inserted into the health care overhaul passed this week, institutions in as many as 11 states are expected to compete for the government money.

UConn spokesman Michael Kirk said the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services has yet to begin that process and that it’s unclear how long it might take to select a winner. But he said school officials are eager to make their pitch.

Gov. M. Jodi Rell two weeks ago proposed a $353 million plan for major improvements at the 50-year-old health center, which would require $227 million in state borrowing along with the $100 million in federal cash.

Meanwhile, nearly $8 million in federal stimulus funds already is headed to the UConn Health Center, where the money will be used to renovate one of the original buildings on the Farmington campus.

School officials said this week that the $7.9 million grant awarded by the National Center for Research Resources, a unit of the National Institutes of Health, is earmarked to modernize a 15,480-square foot “research core facility” that supports the projects of 136 scientists.

The grant will pay for 85 percent of the cost of the project, with the remainder — pegged at $1.3 million — funded by the health center, they added.

The federal money will be used to "correct problematic working conditions and ergonomic issues for the staff," and also to install sustainable “green” technologies to reduce water and energy consumption, according to the school.

Expected to take two years, the project is expected to employ as many as 130 construction and trade workers as well as architects, engineers, technical support staff, and specialty consultants.

The National Institutes of Health grant is in addition to $19 million in stimulus funds already awarded to investigators at the health center.

They include a group researching the development of protective immunity against viral and bacterial pathogens and their products, which received more than $3.5 million.