Auburn University Board of Trustees approves 2019 budget

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The Auburn University Board of Trustees approved the 2019 fiscal budget of $1.349 billion at its Sept. 14 meeting.

Kelli Shomaker, vice president for business and finance and chief financial officer, said 83.3 percent of the budget—$1.123 billion—is allocated for the main campus, $103 million for Auburn University Montgomery, $58 million for the Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station and $64 million for the Alabama Cooperative Extension System.

The new budget is $78 million more than the 2018 fiscal budget, which includes a 3.49 percent increase in state appropriations. An increase in student enrollment, along with a previously approved 3 percent tuition increase, contributed to an 8.77 percent increase in funding from tuition and fees.

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 and faculty and job family promotions. Operating expenses include increases in student aid, mandatory university-level contracts, building maintenance and operations and debt service, as well as funds for research initiatives.

The following building projects received final approval from the board:

  • The Poultry Research Farm Unit relocation project includes construction of 18,800-square-foot building dedicated to the advancement of research and educational efforts, as well as facilities for multiple pen-houses, a hatchery, battery house, chamber house, breeder house and various ancillary buildings. The existing 20 buildings located in the Auburn University Research Park will be demolished. The $22 million cost will be covered by College of Agriculture funds and university general funds.

  • The first phase of the Jordan-Hare Stadium Suite Renovations project includes providing new operable windows and fans in the third and fourth level East suites to allow better access to the sounds and general atmosphere of the game. The estimated cost of $4.5 million will be financed by the Athletics Department. The second phase, which will be presented at a later date, will provide routine renovations to include upgrades to the finishes and standard HVAC system improvements.

In other matters, the board decided to:

  • Increase the band building project by $2 million. The board previously adopted a budget of $5.5 million for a two-story, 14,600-square-foot building located east of Goodwin Hall for band rehearsal, instrument and uniform storage rooms. The additional funds will cover the cost to award the base construction bid, an increase for construction contingency, costs for a new electrical distribution transformer, additional builders risk insurance, modified scope of audio/visual related equipment and increased scope of security measures.

  • Utilize a 10-acre site within in the Auburn Research Park for a Health Sciences facility, operated by East Alabama Medical Center. The board previously decided to expand three acres of park to accommodate the facility. It was since determined space within the park would be better.

  • Purchase the one-acre residential property at 102 Kimberly Drive, known as the Whitten property. It is adjacent to five acres of university-owned property along South College Street.

  • Modify an easement agreement with the owner of the Whatley Building, 125 S. College St. The previous agreement allowed non-retail tenants to access the redeveloped building from their parking area at 138 Gay St. The owner sought a modification to run sewage lines through the same. 
  • Modify lease agreement with Tau Kappa Epsilon in order for the fraternity to finance the renovation of its existing fraternity house. They requested the mortgage cap be increased to $600,000.

  • Create a new Master of Science in Data Science and Engineering, effective fall 2019, between the Samuel Ginn College of Engineering and the College of Sciences and Mathematics. The new degree is designed for students with interests in statistical methodology, computational science and other data-centric careers. The proposal will go to the Alabama Commission on Higher Education for review and approval.

  • Award a Bachelor of Science in Geology, posthumously, to Nicholas L. Hood, who died in June.

  • Name Trustee Gaines Lanier to a four-year term on the Tigers Unlimited Foundation Board.

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, life-changing outreach with Carnegie’s Community Engagement designation 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.