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Updated 3:00 PM May 2, 2005




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Projects slated for state capital outlay funding

Responding to a request from the state, the University has submitted several projects for capital outlay funding for fiscal year 2005 that address the needs of academic programs and student services. Details were provided to the Board of Regents April 21 for their review and concurrence.

Three projects on the Ann Arbor campus totaling $29.5 million entail renovation of existing facilities: Observatory Lodge, the Phoenix Memorial Laboratory and the Student Activities Building (SAB). The capital outlay will cover $20 million of the total, while the University will fund the remainder. The Flint campus requested renovations to two buildings at a cost of $9.35 million, of which $7 million will come from the state.

The capital outlay appropriation, the first put forth by the state in several years, was included in the FY 2005 state budget initiated by the state Legislature and Gov. Jennifer Granholm. It was designed as a means to promote job creation and economic development as well as provide a source of capital funding for the state's public universities. The total capital outlay designated for all Michigan universities is $200 million.
"The state's assistance gives us the means to restore three existing structures and create suitable physical space for important academic and business functions."
—Timothy P. Slottow

"Over the last 10 years, state support has given us the means to renovate and improve numerous academic facilities on our central campus," says Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Timothy P. Slottow. "This new commitment will allow us to undertake much-needed projects that have been included in our planning process for some time but for which we lacked funding. The state's assistance gives us the means to restore three existing structures and create suitable physical space for important academic and business functions."

At their meeting, regents moved expeditiously to approve the $11.5 million Observatory Lodge renovation as the first of the projects that will be supported by this round of capital outlay funds. The facility will be renovated to house office and classroom space for the Division of Kinesiology, whose activities now occur in the Central Campus Recreation Building—a facility used largely for recreational sports.

Observatory Lodge will undergo a total renovation of mechanical, electrical, plumbing and life safety systems, as well as architectural changes to support the new program. The structure was built in 1930 as an apartment building, and has not had a systematic upgrade since its initial construction. The University purchased it in 1966, and it was vacated in 2001. The project will respect the building's historic character.

Renovation of the SAB will make it easier to navigate the business of being a student, such as paying bills and registering for courses. The project also will improve space that supports academic and social programs for students. The renovations, at a project cost of $8.5 million, will make the lobby spaces more inviting, consolidate staff resources and create increased space for meetings and collaboration.

The Phoenix Memorial Laboratory Building on North Campus will be renovated as classroom and research space in the engineering and medical sciences at a cost of $9.5 million. Work will include extensive infrastructure upgrades in mechanical, electrical and life safety systems. The building was constructed in 1955 in honor of Michigan soldiers lost in World War II, and was developed to provide nuclear research for peaceful uses of atomic energy. The renovation will preserve the war memorial.

The Phoenix Laboratory adjoins the Ford Nuclear Reactor (FNR) Building, which houses a research reactor now being decommissioned. The University plans to separately renovate the structure that houses the FNR for expanded educational and research needs.

The Flint projects entail renovations to French Hall and the Murchie Science Building. The work will provide updated classrooms, music recital and rehearsal space and science laboratories.

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