Auburn University Board of Trustees approves 2018 budget

Published: September 15, 2017
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The Auburn University Board of Trustees approved the 2018 fiscal budget of $1.27 billion at its Sept. 15 meeting.

Kelli Shomaker, vice president for business and finance and chief financial officer, said 82 percent of the budget—$1.04 billion—is allocated for the main campus. Nearly $100 million is set for Auburn University Montgomery, $64 million for the Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station and $64 million for the Alabama Cooperative Extension System.

The new budget is $44 million more than the 2017 fiscal budget, she added, with 93 percent of the increase attributed to the main campus. The budget does not include an increase from state appropriations, but does account for a 3 percent tuition increase which the board approved in April.

Shomaker said the budget includes compensation expenses for merit salary increases, as well as faculty and job family promotions. Operating expenses include student aid, mandatory university-level contract increases, building maintenance and operations and contingencies.

In other matters, the board approved:

  • A project to renovate existing space on the first floor of the Miller Gorrie Center to create new virtual design and construction lab space for an estimated cost of $1.05 million. Inox Design of Alpharetta, Georgia, will serve as the architect.

  • Expanding the scope of the Gavin Engineering Research Laboratory project and increasing its budget. An additional $1.25 million is needed to cover the cost of replacing the floor system in the former Textile Building. During demolition, workers discovered the soil under the existing basement and first floor were unsound. The board previously approved a $16.75 million budget for the project.

  • Increasing the budget for the Brown-Kopel Engineering Student Achievement Center from $39.75 million to $44 million. During the bid process, the low bid was $3.6 million over the approved budget. The additional funds will cover the budget increase and allow the university to purchase two bid alternates that will enhance the quality of the classroom building.

  • Extending the lease for the FarmHouse fraternity house at 552 W. Thach Ave., and increase the mortgage cap.

  • Selling, exchanging or leasing the South Auburn fisheries property at 5815 Lee Road 27, likely to the USDA. The approximately 53.9 acres is no longer used by the College of Agriculture.

  • Establishing the following new degree programs: At Auburn University Montgomery, a Master of Science in computer science; and at Auburn, bioprocess engineering option in the Bachelor of Science in biosystems engineering, College of Agriculture; Bachelor of Arts in law and justice, Bachelor of Science in neuroscience, both in the College of Liberal Arts; Bachelor of Science in sustainable biomaterials and packaging, School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences; Master of Science in cybersecurity engineering, Master of Engineering, both in the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering; and a doctorate in earth systems science, College of Sciences and Mathematics.

  • Closing the Bachelor of Science in electrical engineering, computer engineering option, and establishing a Bachelor of Science in computer engineering in the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering.

The board approved the following projects for the Athletics Department:

  • A project to promote player development at Plainsman Park by providing indoor batting cages and general gameday operations improvements, plus repurpose the current batting cage space.

  • A project to promote player development at Jane B. Moore Field by providing an indoor practice infield and batting cages, as well as installing additional seating.

  • A project at Auburn Arena to renovate current team support spaces for men’s basketball including a new entry lobby, expanded locker room area, team meeting space and team lounge. Project also includes a new women’s basketball entry lobby, expanded team space and improved graphics.

  • A project at Jordan-Hare Stadium to replace the existing scoreboard in the north end zone with a new $6.3 million videoboard. It is expected to be a quarter of the viewing size of the south end zone videoboard and be operational prior to the start of the 2018 season. The trustees selected LBYD Inc. of Birmingham, Alabama, which worked on the south end zone videoboard, as project architect/engineer.