Curators approve $265 million in bonds for campus projects

The renovation of Mark Twain residence hall was included in the list of projects.

In a special telepresence meeting Nov. 22, the UM system Board of Curators approved about $265 million in revenue bonds to fund the completion of several on-campus projects.

All approved projects will fund themselves or will be funded through capital reserves, said Nikki Krawitz, UM system vice president of finance and administration. This ensures all bonds will be paid back in 30 years.

Among the approved bonds was $18.6 million for renovations to Mark Twain residence hall. Originally slated to receive a complete refurbishment this year, construction of the hall was delayed to accommodate the large freshman class.

“This hall was built in 1965, and you can see it has a need for extensive renovations given the age of that building,” Krawitz said. “It will extend the usable life for at least 30 years.”

The Green Meadows Family Medicine Clinic will relocate soon, per the board’s approval of $30 million in revenue bonds for the project. Part of MU Health Care, the clinic currently stretches across 4.5 acres and seven buildings. Due to ever-changing health care regulations, Krawitz said, this space is now inadequate.

Consequently, the clinic is now planned to span a 7.5-acre property, assuming an MU Health Care analysis Krawitz referred to is enacted upon.

Curators also approved $16.5 million in revenue bonds for the east campus chiller plant and for a new storm water main.

Approved in 2007, the plant fulfills the east side of campus’ need for a chilled water loop, which includes cooling for new buildings such as the Patient Care Tower and the Animal Resource Center.

According to a system document, the storm water main project will install a new sewer system extending from Monk Drive to the outfall south of the Memorial Stadium. The current system is more than 60 years old and fails to meet modern design standards.

Bonds for two projects unable to create their own revenue were tossed by the wayside. These projects concern buildings on the St. Louis and Rolla campuses, and would require around $67 million in funds.

In his opening statements, UM system President Gary Forsee said implementing these projects would require an increase in student fees, which he said wouldn’t be a logical step to take at the time.

“Now is not the time, we believe, to consider a new student facility fee for this purpose, given the upcoming tuition process that will unfold over the next several months,” Forsee said. “This is coupled with our need to continue to focus on accessibility and affordability for our students in Missouri.”

The tuition process Forsee referred to deals with January’s predicted request of the state for a waiver that would grant the system permission to increase tuition higher than inflation. Further student fees would aggravate the situation.

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