Board Agrees to Proceed on Capital Projects

Interim Provost and VP for Academic Affairs Dale Kapla received a special recognition from the board for his service. He is pictured front and center with (back row from left): Trustees Steve Lindberg, Alexis Hart, Greg Toutant, Missie Holmquist, Greg Seppanen and Lisa Fittante, NMU President Brock Tessman, and Trustees Brigitte LaPointe-Dunham and Steve Young.

Northern Michigan University's Board of Trustees authorized administrators to move forward with the Harden Hall Renovation and the Science Complex Research and Teaching Labs Addition based on the final project bids.

“These are exciting improvements that will help us work toward complete modernization of key facilities in our academic mall,” said Vice President for Finance and Administration Gavin Leach. “They also demonstrate our continued effort to create the best learning and working environment possible for our students, faculty and staff.” 

Over the past two years, the board had approved funding requests for various phases of the renovation: programmatic and schematic architectural work and the hiring of construction manager; full architectural and construction drawings; and the estimated costs to complete the project. These totaled about $33 million, but the final project bid came in significantly higher at nearly $40 million.

“Construction costs have continued to climb, so we decided to send select bid packages out with revised scopes in December to try and bring the pricing down,” Leach said. “After rebidding the project, the price was reduced to $37 million. We believe this is the best pricing we will get, based on discussions with the architects and the construction manager, and we're recommending that the project move forward at that price.”

The board approved the additional $4.3 million to cover the difference for the Harden Hall renovation.

Leach also requested that trustees approve $14.1 million for remaining construction costs associated with the research and teaching labs addition to the Science Complex. They had previously agreed to budget $550,000 for pre-construction costs.

In other action, the board approved an executive committee recommendation to increase President Brock Tessman's base salary based on his performance over his first year at NMU. He will receive the same 2% boost that NMU nonrepresented employees received in July 2023, retroactive to that date. 

“When we look at our enrollment numbers, when we look at our retention numbers, we're seeing really positive headwinds,” said Board Vice Chair Alexis Hart. “In addition to that, the relationship-building and outreach he has led across many different bases on campus and beyond has not gone unnoticed. It's very exciting to be able to make this motion today.”

“I would just echo what Vice Chair Hart said,” added Board Chair Steve Young. “I think Brock hit the ground running here. It's been just a little over a year and I think we're all real pleased with a lot of energy and progress that we made in that short period of time.”

Young also presented a special recognition to NMU Interim Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs Dale Kapla. He stepped up to the role in October 2021 when his predecessor, Kerri Schuiling, was elevated to president. Kapla continued in that capacity while NMU conducted a successful national search for incoming Provost Anne Dahlman, whose start date is April 1. 

“Dale has worked diligently to ensure the highest support of NMU's academic areas,” Young said. “When COVID was at its peak, Dale was instrumental in helping the university navigate the pandemic, especially regarding faculty and classroom issues. Dale has addressed emerging innovation head-on, creating task forces to study uses and impacts of new technologies such as artificial intelligence. He has also supported new teaching styles such as high-flex courses and NMU's well-being initiative. Dale, on behalf of the Board of Trustees, thank you for your leadership and your professionalism.”

Kapla receiving a plaque from Board Chair Steve Young
Kapla receiving a plaque from Board Chair Steve Young
Prepared By

Kristi Evans
News Director

Categories: Around NMU