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Oct. 24 , 2006
CONTACT: Ron Podell

EMU regents affirm Pray-Harrold as top capital outlay request

YPSILANTI — The Eastern Michigan University Board of Regents approved a fiscal year 2008 capital outlay budget request for the modernization of Pray-Harrold, the University’s largest classroom building.

The action came at a special Regents meeting Oct. 20.

The estimated cost to renovate Pray-Harrold is approximately $52.7 million. The University’s cost share is 25 percent or approximately $13.2 million. The University’s cost would increase an additional $2.3 million for non-allowable costs primarily related to temporary space and relocation costs. That would bring the University’s total cost to nearly $15.5 million.

The University’s total required share of the project would be provided through the sale of bonds supported by tuition and fee revenue generated by the 4 percent tuition and fee increase that began in fiscal year 2006 to address campus capital needs, said Steve Holda, EMU’s interim director of business and finance.

“Pray-Harrold has been our top priority since 1999 because of the condition of the building and the number of students it serves every day,” said Holda, who added building concerns identified include technology infrastructure, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems and handicap accessibility.

Pray-Harrold was built in 1969 as the state of Michigan’s single largest classroom building, at 237,108 square feet. For the past 37 years, the building has been utilized at capacity, serving about 10,000 students each instructional day.

Despite having one of the oldest campuses in Michigan, EMU has not had a capital outlay project funded by the state since 1996.

“Eastern Michigan University views its physical capital as a financial asset, and believes that investing in the Pray-Harrold modernization project is an exceptionally wise use of state funds,” Holda said. “Such an investment will extend the life of the building, reduce operation costs and offer a more effective learning environment.”

While EMU’s main focus is renovating Pray-Harrold, the state requires identification of other

capital projects to be included in the Five-Year Capital Outlay Plan. Additional projects include the renovation of Mark-Jefferson Science Building and the addition of a science laboratory; and renovation of Strong Hall.

Under Phase I of its plan to address the needs of science students on campus, the University would self-fund a $100 million project for the Mark Jefferson Science Complex. This project calls for a 161,600-square-foot building addition and a complete renovation of the existing science building. The project will address outdated laboratory space, as well as the need for additional classroom and faculty office space, Holda said.

A program statement for this project has been completed and funding for this project will be provided by the issuance of debt. The debt service will be paid primarily with funds generated by the 4 percent tuition increase that was approved for this purpose by the Regents, effective in fall 2005.

Phase II of the project involves renovating Strong Hall, another science building. A program statement is being developed for Strong.

“We see this (Strong) as the next number-one capital priority after the completion of the Pray-Harrold project. We look forward to the state being able to participate in the funding of the Strong project and for its inclusion in a future capital bill,” 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 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.

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