Tuesday, June 23, 2015

EKU budget going up 1.9 percent

This from the Richmond Register:

EKU President Michael Benson
Eastern Kentucky University’s budget for the coming year will rise a little less than 1.9 percent.

And when the 2015-16 academic year concludes, three residence halls, Dupree, Todd and Martin, are slated to come down, along with a section of the Brockton married student apartments.

Those were among actions approved as the EKU Board of Regents met Monday morning.

All but just under $200,000 of the budget’s rise of nearly $6.44 million will come from student tuition. That reflects an expected 4.22 percent growth in tuition income. The regents in April approved a 2.9 percent tuition hike for in-state students.

State appropriations for university operations has remained static, even as institutional costs rise, EKU President Michael Benson said in an interview after the meeting.

Institutional Support, which includes $28.6 million for scholarships and fellowships, will see the biggest rise of any budget section, nearly $6.44 million. The growth of more than 17.23 percent will take the Institutional Support budget to more than $38.6 million. About $1.7 million is designated to increase EKU’s merit scholarhship offerings, Benson said.

Academic Services will get an increase of more than $2.56 million, taking its budget up by nearly 11.6 percent to more than $28.7 million.

The Student Services budget, which includes intercollegiate athletics, will see the next greatest rise. It will grow by more than $2.13 million to $21.27 million, an increase of 11.14 percent.

Faculty and staff will see no cost-of-living pay raises, but $9.5 million has been set aside in the sceond phase of the university’s effort to augment pay as reorganization continues, Benson said during the interview.

The aging dormitories scheduled for demolition next year cannot feasibly be renovated or converted to a format that would meet student needs, according to Barry Poynter, EKU Vice President for Finance and Administration.

Dupree and Todd halls, which opened in 1964, are 11 stories and house approximately 340 students each. Martin Hall, which opened in 1962, is four stories and houses up to 400 students.

Durpree and Todd, across the street from the Powell Building (student center), will be the site of new student housing, Benson said.

The section of the Brockton married-student apartments to be taken down will be the site of a “scholar house,” which will house single-parent students, he added.

The student center eventually will be renovated rather than demolished, Benson said. As promised when the student senate endorsed an increase in fees for campus facilities this year, student representatives will have a say in the campus redevelopment funded by the fees, the president added.

The campus changes are part of the university’s new strategic plan, titled “Make No Little Plans: A Vision for 2020,” adopted Monday. It focuses on six strategic goals: academic excellence, commitment to student success, institutional distinction, financial stability, campus revitalization and service to communities and region, said Matt Roan, co-chair of the strategic planning committee.

The plan is the “result of the collaborative efforts of many individuals, Roan said. “It represents shared governance at its finest.” Each goal is supported by several strategic initiatives, he added.

The university has scheduled a public forum, 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, June 30, at the EKU Center for the Arts to present the plan to the community.

In other action, the board:
• Approved a new master’s degree program in athletic training, pending final approval by the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education.
• Approved faculty emeritus status for Foundation Professors Dr. Hal Blythe and Dr. Charlie Sweet.
• Heard a presentation by Bullhorn Creative, the Lexington firm engaged to provide expert guidance in the development of a new brand strategy for the university.
• Heard a presentation by new Director of the Athletics Steve Lochmueller, two coaches and several student-athletes.

At the meeting’s conclusion, the board met for about 30 minutes in an executive session in which its chair, Craig Turner, said personnel issues and pending litigation would be discussed. No action was taken after the session, and the board adjourned.

1 comment:

Bringyoursaddlehome said...

First let me say I am all for enhancing the facilities at EKU, most of which are in significant need of renovation. I am concerned, however, that we seem to be funding the demolition of three dorms but I don't see any specific plans about their replacements or costs. As of late we seem to be quite proficient at tearing stuff down and talking about construction and green space but with the exception of the science building second phase and the promenade by the library, I don't see a lot of construction occurring.

Looks like the demolition of Dupree, Todd, Martin and remaining Brockton apts. will result in the loss of at least 1100 beds. That is on top of the recent loss of almost 800 beds to with the demolition of Combs and repurposing of Commonwealth. That means in the last couple of years we are looking at loss about 1900 bed capacity.

The new dorm which opened this year provides about 250 beds and the Grand Campus offers about 500 beds. So where are all the 1000+ other students supposed to go between the demolition and the construction/opening of the as yet planned or paid for new dorms?

I think it is the right move to modernize the dorm offerings but I am just wondering if the university might be getting out of the student housing business. EKU undergraduate enrollment is about 1000 more students compared to 15 years ago. In that time EKU will have demolished or repurposed Dupree, Todd, Martin, Commonwealth, Combs, Mattox, O Donnell, Vickers and Brockton Apts. and only built one new dorm. So next year we will have increased enrollment but reduced capacity by 2400 beds while only adding 250 plus leasing another 500.

At the same time we are raising tuition we are also raising housing expenses by almost 1500 a semester for the kids who are being relocated to Grand Campus instead of sharing a traditional room. I understand that students these days want fancier dorms and that other institutions we compete against are working to provide those but is that going to be marketable for EKU if off campus housing provides more economical/larger options and don't require meal plan commitments?(By the way, EKU is leasing GC for 2.5 million but student housing fees will generate about 3.5 million. Dues it cost a million dollars to maintenance 500 rooms?)

Sorry, guess I am just getting tired of not getting any sort of cost of living raise and going to classrooms that look like and function like storage units.