The Northern Michigan University Board of Trustees today approved a 2018-19 general fund operating budget of nearly $113.8 million. The budget is $3.7 million, or 3.4 percent, higher than last year. The university is advancing its strategic plan with investments in student scholarships, new academic programs, a student success center and athletics. The increase also covers contractual obligations and inflationary cost increases related to utilities, supplies and other expenses.
The board approved the facilities five-year master plan and the 2018-19 capital outlay project request. Public universities are required to submit these annually to the Michigan Department of Technology, Management and Budget. The top two priority projects identified by NMU are: a revitalized Career Tech and Engineering Technology Facility; and an Academic Teaching and Business Innovation Center. If a project is approved as part of a capital outlay bill, the state would pay 70 percent of the cost and Northern would be responsible for 30 percent.
The first project would modernize the Jacobetti Complex into a “vibrant, modern, high-tech teaching facility,” according to the project request. The Career Tech and Engineering Technology Facility would put cutting-edge training tools in the hands of Northern students, enhancing their learning experience. It would also support the U.P.'s high-demand CTE workforce of tomorrow, which aligns with the State of Michigan's goal to increase CTE education to meet the statewide demand for skilled workers.
The second priority project would transform the McClintock Building into a state-of the-art teaching and business innovation facility. The NMU College of Business would relocate to the core of campus, enhancing faculty/student interaction and opportunities for interdisciplinary collaboration. The building would also house Invent@NMU, which helps entrepreneurs take ideas for products from concept to market, along with the Innovate Marquette Smartzone. Space would be made available to related entities, including the NMU Center for Rural Community and Economic Development, and Northern Initiatives, a local nonprofit providing financial resources and business services to entrepreneurs.
In other action, the board:
-Formally agreed to change the name of the renovated former Marketplace dining facility to The Lights, which opened this semester.
-Voted to grant trustee emeritus status to H. Sook Wilkinson, who was appointed to the NMU board in 2009 and served as chair during her final year in 2016.
-Authorized a rental agreement between NMU and the State of Michigan, Department of Technology, Management and Budget for two office areas in the University Center for the Department of Attorney General.
-Approved the notebook computer program’s annual replacement of 175 additional ThinkPad X1 Carbon Gen 6s, model 20KG (to include warranty, engineering services, software imaging and shipping costs).
-Gave the administration authority to negotiate and, if deemed appropriate, purchase 10 acres of property in Marquette Township, which it has been leasing as the tower site for its public radio and TV stations, at a price not to exceed $45,000, including closing costs.
-Agreed to set the following meeting schedule for calendar year 2018 (all Thursday-Friday dates): Feb. 14-15 (meeting or retreat); May 2-3; July 18-19 (meeting or retreat); Sept. 19-20; and Dec. 12-13.
-Accepted an ad hoc policy review committee’s recommendation regarding revisions to the NMU indemnification policy.
-Approved the fiscal year 2019 long-term maintenance project list.
The board’s next regularly scheduled meeting is scheduled Dec. 13-14.