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Regents rally 'round the Pac-10

Invite from prestigious athletic conference preceded by 'quiet confidence' among CU leaders

By Jay Dedrick

Photo/Casey A. Cass/University of Colorado
CU leaders make official the University of Colorado at Boulder's entry into the Pac-10 conference. Front row, from left: Pac-10 Commissioner Larry Scott, CU President Bruce D. Benson, CU-Boulder Chancellor Philip P. DiStefano, Regents Chair Steve Bosley; back row, from left, Regents Tom Lucero, Monisha Merchant, Jim Geddes, Michael Carrigan, Joe Neguse and Kyle Hybl, and CU Athletic Director Mike Bohn.
At a meeting that felt more like a pep rally than a forum of elected officials, the University of Colorado Board of Regents voted unanimously Friday, June 11, to accept an invitation for membership in the Pacific-10 Conference.
Meeting on the club level of Folsom Stadium, the regents convened shortly after the arrival of Larry Scott, commissioner of the Pac-10, who was met at Rocky Mountain Airport by a contingent that included Gov. Bill Ritter, former Buffs coaches Bill McCartney and Ceal Barry, and Alfred Williams, a past star for the Buffs and Denver Broncos.

Chair Steve Bosley said he and other regents had been contacted by many constituents and alumni in the days leading up to the announcement of CU's leaving the Big 12 to join the Pac-10, set to take effect in 2012.

"The people of Colorado ... were concerned that CU might be left in the lurch," Bosley said. Though some scenarios being speculated on by media and fans had CU being supplanted in an expanded Pac-10 by another school or schools, "we always had a quiet confidence we matched up with the Pac-10."

Photo/Casey A. Cass/University of Colorado
Pac-10 Commissioner Larry Scott speaks during Friday's news conference, shortly after the Board of Regents voted to accept an invitation to the conference.

Regent Michael Carrigan said he's been part of many difficult votes, but that Friday's was not among them.
"I support joining the Pac-10 not because of what Missouri, Nebraska or Texas might do, but because it's the right decision for this university," said Carrigan, who later led regents and others in singing the CU fight song. "Let there be no confusion about who acted first."

Carrigan and Regent Jim Geddes acknowledged that traditions established with the Big 12 will be missed. But they and other university leaders spoke repeatedly of the "good fit" that CU-Boulder will have with the research-rich institutions of the Pac-10: Arizona, Arizona State, California, Oregon, Oregon State, Stanford, UCLA, USC, Washington and Washington State.

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The next regents meeting is scheduled for June 24 and 25 in Boulder; expected to be included on the agenda are items reviewed and forwarded by the board's capital construction subcommittee, which met June 9 at 1800 Grant St.

One of the items is a revision to plans for an addition to the Lazzara Oral-Facial Health Building on the Anschutz Medical Campus. The original plan from three years ago called for 38 dental operatories; the new plan calls for 64, increasing the budget from $8.2 million to $12.4 million.

"There's plenty of demand from students," said UC Denver Provost Roderick Nairn. "We're the only dental school in the state, so most of these students stay in Colorado." Design of the expansion, which adds floors above the existing building, is slated to be complete in Febrary 2011, with construction finishing in April 2012 for May 2012 occupancy.

Nairn and Jeff Parker, interim vice chancellor of finance and administration at UC Denver, also presented an update on the Pharmaceutical Research Building, which is under construction on the AMC campus; first occupants are expected to move in next February.

Representatives of each campus also updated the committee on five-year capital construction plans. Regent Jim Geddes asked about plans for student housing on the Boulder campus; leadership reports that the number of student beds will increase from 6,000 to 7,000 in 2011.

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