COLUMBIA — Lafferre Hall once again tops the list of MU's renovation priorities.
The UM System Board of Curators on Friday requested funding for three major MU renovations in its 2015 state appropriations request.
MU's primary request is $55.9 million to renovate Lafferre Hall, an item that has been on its agenda since at least fiscal year 2012. MU's other requests, which have also appeared in previous fiscal years, break down as follows:
- $31.4 million for a new School of Music facility
- $47.5 million to renovate Arvarh E. Strickland Hall
- $82.8 million in critical facility needs such as updates to classrooms and laboratories
The system request includes $653.7 million for capital improvements and $494.5 million for system-wide operations.
During the curators' meeting, Tom Richards, interim vice president for finance and UM System treasurer, presented an update on what he and others called the fiscal year 2014 "spending restrictions." MU is subject to a $7 million across-the-board freeze on core spending. Gov. Jay Nixon also withheld $1 million for the large animal veterinary program and $9.7 million for a School of Medicine expansion.
Richards said UM System schools are already feeling the effects of the restrictions. Fiscal year 2014 began on July 1, limiting the amount of money the system could count on from the state.
If the Missouri General Assembly chooses not to override Nixon's veto of House Bill 253 in a special veto session in September, the UM System will receive the $26.4 million Nixon is withholding. In the case of an override, Richards said it is unlikely the system will receive the funding.
UM System schools are forming contingency plans. Richards said the restrictions do not affect any of the system's $12.4 million in performance funding, which UM System President Tim Wolfe wants to go toward each campus' strategic plan.
Richards said the restrictions will be difficult for all schools.
"Contingency planning efforts will require continued difficult decisions by each campus as each cut in state appropriations must be offset by some combination of increased revenue or reduced cost," Richards said.
Although contingency planning is in early stages at each campus, Wolfe said the restrictions forced the School of Medicine to scrap plans to increase its enrollment by eight students this fall. He said the school will wait until the next academic year to increase enrollment.
Wolfe asked the curators to speak with their legislators and urge them not to override the veto.
"Our focus is going to be primarily on the House, not the Senate because of the way the Senate vote took place," Wolfe told the curators in a teleconference. "We have got in our sights those individuals that we could either flip or make sure that their vote that they had previously pans out."
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