EMU moving forward with plans for facilities improvement fund
YPSILANTI - Long before the first shovel full of dirt is moved or plans can be drawn to renovate a facility, there are a lot of details that must be worked out. A plan for financing has to be developed, bankers and lawyers consulted, a program statement developed and appropriate state approvals granted.
“There is a lot of work that has to be done before you start to see any construction,” said Steve Holda, interim director of finance for EMU.
Last fall, EMU began collecting on a four-percent tuition increase dedicated specifically for campus facility improvements.
“That money (approximately $4 million) is being put into a special account and will only go toward facilities improvements,” Holda said.
Holda said that things are moving forward and that the first phase of the plan is on course.
“We are laying the groundwork financially. We have engaged lawyers and bankers to borrow the money and we are finalizing the program statement, so we know what we have to have,” said Holda. A program statement gives all of the stakeholders that use a facility a chance to weigh in on what the building should have and provides detailed estimates of project costs.
Once the program statement is complete, the next steps include getting the necessary approvals from the state, including the approval, when required, of a Use and Finance Statement that explains what work is going to be done and how it will be paid for.
Holda said Phase I of the plan involves borrowing $16 million to be used for work on Pray-Harrold and the renovation of Downing Hall. “The dorm renovations will be paid back by auxiliary operations and the work on Pray-Harrold will be paid back by proceeds from the tuition increase,” Holda said.
The EMU Board of Regents made it clear in approving the tuition increase in August 2005 that the money could only be used for academic facilities.
Pray-Harrold improvements will include elevator repairs, air handling and heating and ventilation upgrades, electrical and plumbing repairs and upgrades, and other critical infrastructure repairs.
“We had a tremendous response to the renovation of Buehl Hall and we want to do the same with Downing,” Holda said. The plan is to renovate the rooms; the bathrooms; the lobby and common areas; add new furniture; new carpet, and a new fire alarm and suppression system.
As for Phase II, which will focus on Mark-Jefferson, Holda said that development of the program statement is in its final stages and once completed, the University will have a better understanding of the funding required for that project.
“There are a lot of details that have to be sorted out before a building goes up and we want to make sure that everything is in order,” Holda said.
The majority of funds borrowed will go toward Mark Jefferson and Pray-Harrold.
“These have been our top capital priorities for several years because they serve the most students on our campus. Their renovation will have a tremendous impact on the educational experience of students at EMU,” Holda said.
Eastern Michigan University is a public, comprehensive university that offers programs in the arts, sciences and professions. EMU prepares students with the intellectual skills and practical experiences to succeed in their careers and lives, and to be better citizens.
Eastern Michigan University is a public, comprehensive university that offers programs in the arts, sciences and professions. EMU prepares students with the intellectual skills and practical experiences to succeed in their career and lives, and to be better citizens.
Editor's Note: Looking for an expert source for a story? Check out EMU's Eastern Experts online at www.emich.edu/univcomm/easternexperts.