Dental school to raise funds for new facility, UMB head says

Possible university loan had become an issue

February 11, 2005|By Ivan Penn | Ivan Penn,SUN STAFF

The president of the University of Maryland, Baltimore told lawmakers yesterday that the school intends to fund the $16 million needed for its new dental school through donations and equipment discounts rather than with a loan.

President David J. Ramsay told a House Appropriations subcommittee that he will not allow the university to lend the dental school the money, despite a memorandum and statements weeks ago by his vice president for finance and the dental school's dean about the university's temporarily providing the money.

Ramsay said the plan is focused on "very large discounts on equipment" and other donations. He said he is confident that the money can be raised because of the dental school's prominence. "We're very proud of our dental school," he told the Education and Economic Development Subcommittee. "They're No. 2 [in the country] right now."

Del. Talmadge Branch, a Baltimore Democrat and vice chairman of the Appropriations Committee, asked Ramsay whether the dental school will be able to reach its goal by January, when the new building is scheduled to open.

"It's a lot of money to raise between now and when the project is completed," Branch said. "It does raise some concerns, but they assured us, the committee, that it's something they can do."

Ramsay appeared before the subcommittee as part of the university's annual budget review.

The state is requiring the university to raise $21.5 million of the $141 million needed for the dental school project. The university has raised $5.5 million.

Christian S. Stohler, dean of the dental school, said earlier that he initially ran into trouble with fund raising because of a past dispute between the dental school and its alumni.

Stohler has been working to bridge that divide, but the school hasn't been able to generate the donations needed to fulfill its responsibility.

Ramsay said yesterday that he is confident that the school will be able to raise the money and avoid a loan. He said the financial picture will become clearer by summer.

"Check back with me in six months and see how I look then," Ramsay said.

"The committee will be watching," Branch said.

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