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The Auburn University Board of Trustees took steps Friday to ensure the university is prepared to financially cope with the disruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Kelli Shomaker, Auburn’s vice president for business and finance and chief financial officer, told the board during a special called meeting that the university is in good financial shape, despite the interruption of regular operations. However, in the event it is necessary, the Finance Committee proposed the board authorize the issuance of up to $300 million in revenue bonds to finance certain capital improvements, additions and renovations to support Auburn’s educational mission.

Finance Committee chairman Raymond Harbert stressed that the action would only be taken “if and only if” the university needed to take such steps. The proposal also allows for a three-person committee to make the decision of issuance, rather than convening the full board. The committee members are Wayne Smith, president pro tem of the board; Harbert, chair of the Finance Committee; and Charles McCrary, chair of the Executive Committee.

The board also decided to convey approximately 0.60 acres of university land for $12,000 to facilitate an Alabama Department of Transportation project in Cullman, Alabama. Associate Vice President for Facilities Dan King said ALDOT’s plan to improve traffic capacity and safety along Highway 157 will be a benefit to the university and the public. ALDOT is expected to begin work on the $25 million project this summer.

Although May commencement ceremonies have been delayed until August, trustees conferred degrees for all the spring graduates. McCrary said such action was necessary in order for the students to pursue employment or continue their education with the completion of their Auburn degrees.

In other matters, the board received updates from Gary Lemme, director of the Alabama Cooperative Extension System; Paul Patterson, dean of the College of Agriculture and director of the Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station; and Carl Stockton, chancellor of Auburn University at Montgomery.

ACES, AAES and AUM have moved to altered operations, like the main Auburn campus, but remain functional with staff working remotely or on alternative schedules. Stockton said AUM faculty and staff were able to successfully transition 1,200 courses to online delivery. About 250 of the AUM’s 1,250 residents remain on campus.

Like the main campus, AUM has canceled summer study abroad trips, moved spring graduation to August and will hold the summer semester online.

The board is expected to have its next meeting in May.