Auburn Board of Trustees accepts new fiscal budget

Published: September 13, 2019
Font Size

Article body

The Auburn University Board of Trustees approved the 2020 fiscal budget of $1.443 billion at its Sept. 13 meeting.

Kelli Shomaker, vice president for business and finance and chief financial officer, said 83.7 percent of the budget—$1.207 billion—is allocated for the main campus, $107.3 million for Auburn University Montgomery, $67 million for the Alabama Cooperative Extension System and $61.4 million for the Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station.

The new budget is $94 million more than the 2019 fiscal budget. It includes a 6.1 percent increase from state appropriations and a 5.2 percent increase in tuition and fees due to a 2 percent increase in tuition at Auburn, a 3 percent tuition increase at AUM and an increase in student enrollment.

Shomaker said the budget includes increases in compensation expenses for merit salary increases and a one-time salary supplement, as well as fringe benefit increases, faculty and job family promotions and newly hired faculty. Operating expenses include increases in student aid, mandatory contract increases and building operations, restricted expenses and inflation, contingency, as well as funds for research initiatives.

The board also decided to move forward with a project to replace the Hill Residence Halls and Cambridge Residence Hall.

Associate Vice President for Facilities Dan King said the buildings are between 30 and 50 years old and are showing signs of significant deterioration. Rather than renovating, he said the units should be replaced with new buildings.

Replacement will occur through a series of projects over the next five to 10 years.

Bobby Woodard, senior vice president for Student Affairs, told the board at its workshop on Sept. 12 that the Student Housing Working Group, which has university, board, city and student representation, is considering affordability, demand, student satisfaction and local market conditions in its plan to address student housing on campus.

Trustee Mike DeMaioribus, who chairs the Property and Facilities Committee, reiterated that this new plan supersedes a 2016 housing plan approved by the board.

He called this move a “flexible approach” considering the rapid growth of commercial property in the city.

The following building projects received final approval from the board:

  • The Auburn Research Park infrastructure expansion project will expand existing road and utility infrastructure in the park to support the construction of an East Alabama Medical Center facility and future expansion of the park. The $11 million cost will be financed from university general funds, City of Auburn funds and other sources.

  • The Ag Heritage Park ALFA Pavilion renovation project will improve the quality of the pavilion’s interior and exterior to increase its marketability as a more modern, upscale venue in support of university-sponsored events and private social engagements. College of Agriculture gift funds and revenues generated from events hosted at the pavilion will finance the $1.1 million cost.

  • Phase two of the Jordan-Hare Stadium East Suites renovation project calls for renovating the suites, including installing new fixed seating, flooring, cabinets, wall and bathroom finishes and the replacement of the existing HV/AC units. The work is expected to be completed by August 2020. The Athletics Department will fund the $9.2 million cost.

In other matters, the board also decided to:

  • Initiate a project to construct a Football Performance Center and the search for a project architect. The facility would provide the Auburn football team with key and essential capabilities and resources needed to successfully compete within the Southeastern Conference and with national peer programs. It would enhance student-athlete development with space dedicated to strength and conditioning, health and recovery and sports science, as well as team meeting rooms, coach and staff offices, equipment storage space and common areas.

  • Increase the professional fee in the College of Veterinary Medicine for Alabama residents and Southern Regional Education Board contract students, effective fall 2020. Beginning in 2021, the president will benchmark and adjust the professional fees for veterinary students so that their total tuition and fees remain as near as possible to the average for Association of American Veterinary Medical Colleges. No fee increase will exceed $1,000 per semester in a single year.

  • Create a child life option and an early child development option for the Bachelor of Science in Human Development and Family Studies, College of Human Sciences.

  • Create a Master of Science in Child Life, College of Human Sciences. The degree will offer students and professionals advanced coursework and experience in community-focused care for families with children who are experiencing trauma and hospitalization. It will be the first of its kind in Alabama.

  • Create a Master of Science in Hospitality Management, College of Human Sciences. The degree is currently a curricular option within the existing Master of Science in Nutrition. Creating a separate program better reflects the current program offerings as well as the unit’s growing role in the hospitality industry, a mainstay of Alabama’s economy. Advanced coursework will be delivered on-campus and through distance education.

  • Create a Doctor of Philosophy in Hospitality Management, College of Human Sciences. Currently, students can pursue the program as an option within the existing doctoral program in nutrition. Creating a separate program better reflects the current program offerings as well as the unit’s growing role in the hospitality industry, a mainstay of Alabama’s economy.

  • Rename the Department of Communication Disorders and programs as the Department of Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences, College of Liberal Arts. The renamed department will offer a Bachelor of Science in Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences and a Master of Science in Speech, Language and Hearing Sciences.

  • Award a Master of Science in Biomedical Science, posthumously, to Dr. Daniel K. Newhard, who died in June.

  • Revise the university’s vision and mission statement.

  • Create a Purple Heart Proclamation for the National Purple Heart Society to designate Auburn University as a Purple Heart University and receive national recognition of initiatives that support combat-wounded veterans.

  • Select Trustees Sarah Newton and Elizabeth Huntley for a three-year term on the Alumni Lifetime Achievement Awards Committee.

Auburn University is a nationally ranked land grant institution recognized for its commitment to world-class scholarship, interdisciplinary research with an elite, top-tier Carnegie R1 classification and an undergraduate education experience second to none. Auburn is home to more than 30,000 students, and its faculty and research partners collaborate to develop and deliver meaningful scholarship, science and technology-based advancements that meet pressing regional, national and global needs. Auburn's commitment to active student engagement, professional success and public/private partnership drives a growing reputation for outreach and extension that delivers broad economic, health and societal impact. Auburn's mission to educate, discover and collaborate drives its expanding impact on the world.