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A committee of University Trustees and administrators has been interviewing five firms willing to finance, build and operate the long-planned power plant since receiving their bids by the October 1 deadline, Dawkins said. The group hopes to narrow the list to two or three firms by the end of December. Dawkins said the committee members hope to identify the final candidate in the first quarter of the coming year, but added that there is no set timetable because they expect lengthy discussions with the final few firms. The plant, which will take at least three years of construction, will have a 60-megawatt electricity production capacity and a 300,000-pound steam production capacity. -- Helen Jung

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