Auburn board passes budget with strong support from Auburn employees

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In a show of significant support for Auburn employee investment, the Auburn University Board of Trustees accepted its largest budget yet — $1.593 billion — for fiscal year 2023 during of its meeting on September 16.

The new budget, which begins Oct. 1, is up $64.2 million, or 4.20%, from fiscal year 2021. This includes a 5% merit pool, funds for recruiting high caliber teachers, funds to provide staff with competitive services in the market. salaries, job family and faculty promotions and other salary adjustments, as well as benefits.

Friday’s action follows an announcement by Auburn President Christopher B. Roberts at the April board meeting that the university is committed to significantly investing in its employees. Nearly 85% of the proposed budget, or $1,348.9 million, is for the main campus, including $110.5 million for Auburn University in Montgomery, $70.4 million for the cooperative extension system of Alabama and $63.2 million for the Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station.

Salaries, wages and benefits are the largest expenses, together accounting for 52.4% of the budget. Kelli Shomaker, vice president of business and finance and chief financial officer, said tuition and state appropriations continued to be the university’s main sources of revenue, accounting for nearly 67% of the budget. total.

These areas also grew more than other sources of revenue, with an additional $27.3 million in state appropriations, $21.5 million in revenue from tuition and fees, and $11.4 million in dollars in restricted income. This represents $60.2 million of the overall increase of $64.2 million in the new budget.

Shomaker said the change in the operations and maintenance budget is almost exclusively related to inflationary costs in areas such as the city of Auburn’s public safety contract, rising costs for administrative and academic software, bonuses insurance and the new square footage added to the campus.

Additionally, the board accepted a proposed 3% increase for tuition and fees at Auburn and a 4% increase at Auburn University at Montgomery for fall 2023. Housing rates will also increase slightly next fall at Auburn, but not at the Montgomery campus.

In other subjects, the council:

  • Accepted a proposal to build the Gulf Coast Engineering Research Station and launched the process of selecting architects. The Samuel Ginn College of Engineering proposed the building in Orange Beach, Alabama to provide laboratory, office and collaborative space for research on coastal environments and Gulf Coast communities, as well as for provide Auburn with collaborative opportunities. with other institutions of the Marine Environmental Science Consortium. Funding is expected to come from RESTORE Council grant funds in cooperation with the State of Alabama Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.

  • Accepted a proposal to renovate part of the Auburn Research Park Research and Innovation Center and selected Goodwyn Mills Cawood of Birmingham, Alabama as the architect for the project. The project will create a Research Commons for the College of Architecture, Design and Construction. The works include the completion of an 8,000 square foot rental development of the center for research support and administrative spaces and the renovation of 4,000 square feet of the center support building for a fabrication shop and of research.

  • Initiated a consultancy suite renovation project at Lowder Hall and authorized the architect selection process. The Harbert College of Business wants the suite renovated to improve the reception area and add counseling offices and collaborative spaces to accommodate growing student enrollment and improve departmental efficiency.

  • Plans accepted to complete Phase II of the Village Residences Repair and Renovation Project. Work on Holloway Hall, which is expected to begin and be completed in the summer of 2023, includes replacement of flooring, millwork, countertops, mechanical units and furniture. Phase II of the overall project is estimated at $3 million and will be funded by University Housing. Phase I of the project consisted of repairing the Matthews and Aubie rooms.

  • Granted final approval for a project to create a new environmental education building at the Kreher Preserve and Nature Center. The new facility will provide indoor and outdoor teaching space to support and expand research and outreach programs for groups of all ages. The total estimated cost of the project is $1.95 million. Leers Weinzapfel Associates of Boston was previously selected as the architect for the project.

  • Selected Cooper Carry of Atlanta as the project architect for the renovation of the Student Activity Center space for the School of Kinesiology’s new Doctor of Physical Therapy program. The project will provide teaching space, a research lab, offices and other support spaces to enable the school to begin the new program.

  • Selected Barge Design Solutions Inc. of Dothan, Alabama as general consultant for Auburn University Regional Airport. The Federal Aviation Administration and the State of Alabama Aeronautics Bureau require the airport to hire a general consultant who will perform certain airport planning, engineering, and administrative services.

  • In addition, selected Barge Design Solutions Inc. as the engineer for the runway safety area extension project. The Federal Aviation Administration, or FAA, recently informed Auburn that the current safety zone at the north end of Runway 18-36 must be expanded in order for the airport to continue and increase its volume of operations. To facilitate a faster and more efficient design process, the university architect recommended approval from the airport’s general consultant, Barge Design Solutions Inc. The project is expected to be funded through grant funds through the FAA and local funds from the cities of Auburn. and Opelika.

  • Passed a resolution to approve the conservation easement for the Alabama Cooperative Extension System project to construct a new lodge at the Graham Farm and Nature Center lodge in Jackson County, Alabama.

  • Accepted the College of Forestry, Wildlife and Environment’s proposal to establish the Center for Natural Resource Management on military lands. The center will support the college’s agreement with the US military to conduct research-based activities to help the military better manage its land. In addition, the center will provide faculty expertise and natural resource management services to one or more of eight Army installations in the Southeast.

In addition, the council learned that the Harbert College of Business had renamed its management department to Department of Management and Entrepreneurship. The change in nomenclature better reflects the current scope of entrepreneurship teaching, research and outreach programs.

Harbert College also renamed the Department of Systems and Technology to Department of Business Analysis and Information Systems. The change was necessary, as the department no longer houses these academic disciplines.

For Auburn University at Montgomery, the board accepted a proposal to create a Master of Science in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology in the College of Science. The new curriculum includes options with and without thesis and three concentrations: biochemistry and molecular biology, biotechnology and environmental science technology. The goal is to provide graduate students in biology and chemistry with the opportunity to tailor their studies to their unique career goals. The degree is unique in the state because of its options, which are not similar to other programs. Currently, over 370 undergraduates are enrolled in the Biology and Environmental Science programs and over 50 undergraduates are enrolled in the Chemistry program.