Nevada Senator Harry Reid and Congresswomen Shelley Berkley today led Nevada's congressional delegation in introducing the Southern Nevada Higher Education Land Act of 2008. Senator John Ensign and Congressmen Jon Porter and Dean Heller have cosponsored the bill that would convey about 2,400 acres of land to the Nevada System of Higher Education for three campuses in southern Nevada. The University of Nevada Las Vegas would receive 2,000 acres in North Las Vegas, the College of Southern Nevada would receive 40 acres in Las Vegas, and the Great Basin College would receive 280 acres in Pahrump.
"This is an important bill for our state, which is why every member of our congressional delegation is a part of it," said Reid. "From its humble beginnings in Elko in 1874, to the nearly 98,000 degree-seeking students who attend all eight institutions encompassed by the system today, the Nevada System of Higher Education continues to provide excellent opportunities for students from Nevada and around the globe. With the population of Southern Nevada expected to double by the year 2040, there has never been a better time to give our colleges and universities the land they need to meet the increased enrollment that everyone anticipates."
"Education opens the doors of opportunity for a lifetime and this legislation will literally help southern Nevada's higher education system grow by providing federal land to UNLV, CSN and Great Basin College. This move will enable these institutions the flexibility to serve a growing student population and to expand to other locations," said Berkley. "Transferring this land today will help these institutions of higher learning grow along with our communities in southern Nevada, and it's a win-win for education and for the families of the Silver State."
"Higher education is so very important to ensuring that America remains competitive in the world," said Ensign. "It is absolutely imperative that Nevada's higher education system has all the tools it needs to educate Nevadans and students from around the world. The Southern Nevada Higher Education Land Act will help achieve this by allowing our schools the room they need to grow and prosper."
"This legislation is very important to the state of Nevada," Porter said. "With our exponential growth, we must ensure that Nevada's students continue to have excellent educational opportunities and facilities. This legislation will allow the Nevada System of Higher Education to continue to provide quality education for Nevadans as well as provide a robust educational infrastructure for future generations."
"Education is the key to opportunity in America. The vitality of our educational system is critical to Nevada's future and preparing for the challenges of the 21st century. The expansion of these campuses will make education more accessible to Nevadans. I am pleased to work with the delegation on this important effort," said Heller.
The largest parcel of land would go for a new UNLV campus bordering the Nellis Air Force Base. The legislation requires that the Board of Regents and the Air Force Base enter into a cooperative agreement spelling out campus development plans before the land is conveyed to the university system.