UNA trustees approve equipment purchase for new science building

President elect Kenneth Kitts reviews information provided at the board of trustees’ meeting with Gov. Robert Bentley March 6. Bentley gave Kitts good news when he spoke positively of UNA’s contribution to Alabama education.

by Staff Writer Anna Brown

After the luncheon with Gov. Bentley, executive members of the UNA board of trustees approved the purchase of a $299,000 nuclear magnetic resonance spectrometer for the new science and technology building.

The board unanimously approved the donor-funded purchase in a meeting at the Marriott Conference Center March 6.

Assistant professor of chemistry and industrial hygiene Frank Diaz said the university needs a new NMR, as the current one is 20 years old and was purchased used and refurbished.

“The NMR is the only instrument that the American Chemical Society absolutely requires us to have so we can maintain our ACS certification,” Diaz said. “Students use it in class and the department uses it for research purposes.”

Diaz said the NMR is used to look at molecules and is essential to the teaching and research of organic chemistry.

UNA alumnus Mitch Burford is funding the purchase of the equipment.

The NMR costs $299,000 plus an additional $11,000 to ship the equipment to UNA. The cost for purchase and transportation of the equipment is approximately $310,000. The UNA board bylaws state for any purchases that exceed $250,000, the university president must obtain board approval.

Interim University President John Thornell said this decision was brought to the executive board because of the six-month turnaround time for the equipment to be delivered.

“We need the equipment in place for the fall semester,” he said. “This will give us a two-week head start on this process.

Abroms said he is amazed by the generosity of Dr. Burford.

“Dr. Burford’s significant investment in our new science and technology building and programs shows his incredible commitment to UNA and its students,” he said.