The daily Nebraskan. ([Lincoln, Neb.) 1901-current, October 27, 2000, Page 5, Image 5

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    Flood-diversion olan reoort surorises
BY JOSH FUNK
The $175 million first phase of
the city’s Antelope Valley project,
which will redirect traffic and
floodwater, is predicted to spur
$745 million in benefits over the
next 50 years.
The biggest chunk of those
economic benefits - more than
$300 million - is expected to come
from the construction of four to
six new University of Nebraska
Lincoln research laboratories over
30 years.
The economic analysis,
released earlier this week, also
predicts a $63.8 million benefit
from not having to wait for trains
or traffic.
“It’s all speculative at this
point. It’s just a good-faith esti
mate,” said Mark Arter, co-owner
of The Arter Group, the Lincoln
development consulting firm that
conducted the study along with
UNL Economics Professor David
Rosenbaum.
Although some of the project
I
ed windfall of this project is
dependent on other factors such
as grant funding for research labo
ratories, there are still about $400
million in benefits to be realized
from the initial construction
investment and redevelopment
opportunities, Arter said.
The Antelope Valley project is
a two-phase, $225-million plan to
alleviate flood concerns along
Antelope Creek and redirect the
bulk of traffic around City Campus
and over busy rail crossings.
Both phases of the project are
planned to be completed over 20
years. The first phase, which deals
primarily with the flood concerns
and would create a new six-lane
road around campus, is ready for
City Council approval.
A public hearing will be held
Monday at 5:30 p.m. on the plan’s
details.
The city’s Urban Development
Director Marc Wullschleger said
the flood plain along Antelope
Creek, which runs through the
heart of the city from Holmes Lake
in the south to Salt Creek in the
I
north, has always been problem
atic.
Any new construction or
major renovation within the flood
plain, which in places extends for
several blocks from the creek, had
to be built above possible flood
levels like the Beadle Center was in
1995.
Wullschleger said that
requirement, along with the cost
of required flood insurance, has
hindered redevelopment in sever
al core Lincoln neighborhoods.
More than 900 homes will be
brought out of the flood plain by
this project, increasing valuations
and opening up development
possibilities, Wullschleger said.
The rosy predictions in this^
economic analysis surprised even'
Wullschleger, who said he hopes
the report will convince council
members.
“We hope (this report) will
persuade some of the City Council
members that are still on the
fence,” said Wullschleger, who
said the plan has a lot of compro
mise but is the best solution.
I
As one of the principles in the
Antelope Valley study and a
prospective major investor, UNL
will play an important role in the
project’s success, Arter said.
"The university is a powerful
engine in the economy,” Arter
said, citing the grants and salary
money it brings to the local econ
omy.
Arter said his study assumed
UNL would be able to secure 85
percent federal funding for the
new research labs and that the
state would pay for the rest.
The report also assumes
grants would pay for 70 percent of
the faculty salaries.
John Benson, UNL director of
institutional research and plan
ning, was unavailable Thursday
afternoon to discuss how six new
research laboratories fit within the
campus master plan.
. But earlier this month, Benson
said the area between Vine, R, 17th
and 19th streets will be a prime
expansion area for the university
when it is removed from the flood
plain.
Federal aid denied to drug offenders
BY GEORGE GREEN
More than 6,000 college students are find
ing out the hard way that drugs are a dead end,
thanks to a federal government policy.
These people, including two University of
Nebraska-Lincoln students, will not receive
federal financial aid for college.
A 1998 amendment to the Higher
Education Act of 1965, says students convicted
of drug- related crimes can be found ineligible
for federal aid, said Karen Freeman, a
Department of Education spokeswoman.
Depending on the type and number of
convictions, students can lose some or all of
the aid they would normally receive, she said.
But the policy, which started in 1999, does
n't affect many college students, she said.
As of Oct. 22, more than 8 million students
had applied for federal aid using the Free
Application for Federal Student Aid, she said.
Of those students, 1,327 had been found ineli
gible for aid and 5,675 had lost some aid or had
been suspended without aid for a period of
time, Freeman said.
"Extremely small numbers of students are
affected,” said Craig Munier, UNL director of
scholarship and financial aid.
Munier said two UNL students are serving
one-year suspensions of federal aid for first
time drug offenses.
A student convicted of possessing drugs
gets a one-year suspension for a first offense, a
two-year suspension for a second offense and
an indefinite suspension for a third offense, he
said.
Students convicted of selling drugs receive
two-year suspensions for first convictions and
indefinite suspensions for second offenses,
Munier said.
But the Education Department also con
siders whether students have completed a
drug rehabilitation program, Freeman said.
These various factors combine to make the
process sometimes hard to understand,
Freeman said.
Said Munier: "There is a lot of gray area in
this.”
Since 1999, though, the process has
become more clear, Freeman said.
In 1999, she said, confusing directions
caused many students to mistakenly leave the
drug question blank.
Last year and this year, students who have
been convicted of drug-related crimes receive
a worksheet in the mail that asks about their
convictions, she said.
But to simplify things, she said, next year
her office will contact students and help them
fill out the worksheet.
Deb Sprague, the executive director of the
Lincoln Council on Alcohol and Drugs, said
simply punishing drug offenders will not solve
the drug problem.
She said it is crucial to rehabilitate drug
users, otherwise the problems will continue to
resurface.
“We need to be opening more doors to
treatment, not closing them,” she said.
Richards renaissance brings new life
BUILDING from page 1
building class is now meeting in
it
And by the start of the second
semester, Richards Hall will be
open and fully functional, he said.
Amid the renovations, some
faculty members have taken up
shop in the building.
Upon completion, there will
be two painting studios, two
drawing studios, a special class
room for the visual literacy class, a
200-seat auditorium and a 42
seat classroom, he said.
There will be two exterior
pavilions added - an outdoor
sculpture court for students to
work on larger projects and
another area for outdoor kilns.
It will also be completely
handicapped-accessible, he said.
“It’s really turned out to be a
nice building,” he said.
But much of the praise for the
building should be directed
toward those who have spent
countless hours renovating it,
Shull said.
“The contractors have really
bent over backward to help us,”
he said.
Richards Hall was built in
1908 and had never undergone
substantial renovation until this
project began in 1999, he said.
“We tried to keep all the char
acter of the building, and I think
we did,” Shull said.
Joe Ruffo, chairman of the art
and art history department, said
he was pleased with the renova
tions so far in the building.
“I think the facility will be one
of the best in the country,” he said.
The ceramics class moved
into Richards at the beginning of
the fall semester because renova
tions began in the Nelle Cochrane
Woods art building, where the
class was previously held, he said.
Ruffo said the improved
building could draw in more art
students.
“It will probably make more
students want to come here (to
study art)," he said.
Shull agreed, and said
Richards Hall was like “a brand
new building inside."
“It’s going to be a great asset to
the university,” he said.
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