Board of Curators approve two appropriation requests for 2013

More than $1 billion was requested from the state to fund projects, many of which have gone unfunded in the past.

The UM Board of Curators is requesting more than $1 billion in state funds for the 2013 fiscal year.

At the board’s July 22 teleconference, an operating request and state capital request were approved. The $516.8 million rehabilitation and new construction section of the state capital appropriation includes three allocations for MU projects.

Nikki Krawitz, UM System vice president of finance and administration, said the top priority in the state capital request is the Benton Stadler Chemical/Biological Sciences project at the UM-St. Louis. This project was appropriated in the 2008 fiscal year, but still requires funding for completion.

“We classify all of our facility needs into what is critical and needs to be addressed within the next year, and then we have three other tiers of needs,” she said. “Every year, we address certain projects, then the next year takes the place of that.”

At the board’s meeting, Krawitz said the critical facilities needs, a $49.1 million Tier I project, is a top priority for the 2013 fiscal year. These repairs, according to the state capital appropriations request, will occur on all of the UM System’s four campuses.

“The critical facilities needs are needed now, that’s why they’re put into that category,” she said. “There is an analysis done by a third party methodology where we look at every one of our buildings and determine the infrastructure of the building, the condition of the classrooms and laboratories, and what level of criticality the building is at.”

The MU-specific Tier I project is a $67.4 million delegation for renovations and additions to the College of Engineering’s Lafferre Hall. According to the state capital appropriations request, the renovations and additions will ensure a quality facility for innovative research. Some of Lafferre Hall’s renovations, Krawitz said, might be included in the scope of the critical facilities needs appropriation.

The Tier II request, an $83.96 million allocation to help construct the School of Music's Performing Arts Center, was approved in addition to a Tier III allocation of $45.88 million to renovate Strickland Hall.

In addition to the state capital request, the board approved the state appropriations request for operations for the 2013 fiscal year. Krawitz said the operating appropriation base of $369 million is the most pressing of these requests. Other approved funding requests include a $16.4 million increase in core operating support and $40.3 million in competitive faculty compensation.

“We know the difficult budget situation the state faces going into the fiscal year 2013,” Krawitz said. “We present our request just to keep our needs in front of the members of the general assembly, so that they know what the needs are for the universities.”

Aside from the core operating appropriation, curator Don Downing said he believes an increase in faculty compensation is the most necessary of the appropriations.

“The number one priority of all of those, not surprisingly the biggest ticket item there, is getting our faculty salaries up to a competitive range among our comparator institutions,” he said. “I would put that number one and try to focus our resources on that issue.”

The operations appropriations base, according to the state appropriations request, supports university teaching and service, as well as research and economic development. The $16.4 million increase will contribute to building a 3 percent salary and wage merit pool, and fund equipment and technology needs.

The board will meet again via teleconference Aug. 19.

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