Regents approve $8.9 million capital budget

Eastern Michigan University Board of Regents approved an $8.9 million capital budget for 2015-2016 at its regular meeting March 17. This budget includes investment in health-related programs, the Honors College and student housing renovations.

The focus area for 80 percent of this budget is improvement of academic and other facilities. This will be achieved though classroom technology upgrades and campus safety enhancements.

Safety enhancements will include the addition of more cameras, atop the 600 already installed on campus, improvements to the Americans with Disabilities Act and the addition of more Automated External Defibrillators, all costing just over $1.4 million.

The budget allocates $875,000 to campus technology improvements. The Porter building, home to the College of Education, will receive about $600,000 for enhancements.

More than $2.8 million of funding from the FY16 capital plan is going toward upgrades in academic facilities. Rackham Building, which houses the university’s physician assistant program along with other health and human services programs, will get a facelift costing $1.8 million.

Also included in the plan is $1 million to fund the growth of the Honors College. The university this past year had its largest Honors freshman class, at about 500 students.

The budget also focuses on student housing and dining. Wise Hall is scheduled for a $2 million renovation, which will close the hall for a year at the end of the semester.

Along with the improvements to Wise, the First-Year Center – consisting of Putnam, Sellers, Phelps and Walton – will receive $150,000 worth of upgrades.

“From what I’ve seen of the inside of the building, it looks pretty old and out-of-date. It could also just look a little nicer and more welcoming in general.” Said Megan Wotta, EMU student and former Residence Life employee, in an interview.

Other capital investments include improvements of Rynearson Stadium ($100,000), the Rec/IM swimming pool ($175,000), development of the Ainsley Road Cul-de-sac ($400,000) and maintenances to the Smith Lot ($235,000), which is west of King Hall and Marshall Hall close to the center of campus.

The five years from 2008-09 through 2013-14 involved capital spending of more than $220 million. About two-thirds of the spending was spent in academic facility enhancements, including the Science Complex addition/renovation and the renovation of the Pray-Harrold classroom building.

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