University of Massachusetts Trustee Committee Gives Preliminary Approval to Five-Year, $2.9 Billion Capital Plan
State Support Boosts Plan For Renovations, New Buildings Across UMass Campuses And University's Ability to Attract Top Students and Faculty
BOSTON -Wednesday, September 5, 2007- At a meeting attended by the Patrick Administration's top finance official, the University of Massachusetts Board of Trustees Committee on Administration and Finance today gave preliminary approval to a five-year, $2.9 billion capital plan for the University's five campuses.
The plan, updated annually and covering Fiscal Years 2008-2012, is based on a campus-by-campus review and prioritization of building conditions and needs as the University seeks to provide cutting-edge facilities to its more than 58,000 students and its nationally-recognized faculty.
Over the past seven years, the University of Massachusetts has spent $1.5 billion on capital projects as UMass President Jack M. Wilson and the University's Board of Trustees have worked aggressively to improve facilities in order to reach the University's aspirations of claiming its rightful place as a national leader and a world-class, public university. However, the University still carries a significant backlog of repairs, renovations and deferred maintenance for its more than 200 buildings, estimated at more than $2 billion across its five campuses.
This year, the University's five-year capital plan is significantly bolstered by the Patrick Administration's commitment to strengthening the University of Massachusetts and to increased state funding for public higher education facilities.
Patrick Administration Secretary of Administration and Finance Leslie Kirwan and Assistant Secretary Jay Gonzalez attended the University Trustee Committee meeting today and underscored the Governor's commitment to investing in the University of Massachusetts and public higher education in the Commonwealth.
After thanking Kirwan for the Patrick's Administration's collaboration and strong support and acknowledging the legislature's ongoing commitment to the University, UMass President Jack M. Wilson discussed the essential need for capital funding at UMass, "We are putting forward a very ambitious capital plan. Over the next five years, our plan would almost double the level of capital spending and activity that we have been able to undertake during the first seven years of this decade. This plan is ambitious because our goals for the University of Massachusetts are very ambitious, as we seek to make UMass one of the finest public universities in the nation. Our students, and our state, deserve nothing less."
Wilson also noted the important role UMass plays in state economic development, adding, "We know that the Commonwealth is counting on UMass to continue to train its students for jobs in the 21st century and to develop new technologies, new medicines and new jobs, and these capital investments will ensure we continue to lead the way in achieving economic and social development in Massachusetts. The Chancellors have taken the lead in developing plans for their campuses and their regions in conjunction with campus officials, students and faculty and they will spearhead the renovation and construction efforts that this plan envisions-the University's capital planning is truly a collaborative effort."
Stephen P. Tocco, Chairman of the University's Board of Trustees, also lauded the Patrick Administration state funding proposal, "This state support for the University of Massachusetts is long overdue. I am thrilled the Patrick Administration understands the important link between economic development and public higher education in the Commonwealth and I appreciate the Governor's commitment to UMass. We look forward to working with the Administration and the legislature to meet the University's capital needs."
The need for capital improvements is consistent across all five University of Massachusetts campuses and campus Chancellors develop building condition reports and conduct master planning in order to identify the areas of most urgent need.
Recent UMass capital improvements or acquisitions include completion of the North Residential apartment complex, the Marriott Center for Hospitality Management and the renovated Berkshire Dining Commons at UMass Amherst; new dorms and new 22,000 square foot research building at UMass Dartmouth; renovations at UMass Lowell; the purchase of a Shrewsbury facility by the Medical School, and a waterfront Campus Center at UMass Boston.
The plan approved today by the Trustee Committee proposes funding from a variety of sources including university funds, UMass Building Authority borrowing, state and Federal support and private funding, with approximately 41 percent of the funding coming from University funds and borrowing; 38 percent in state support; 16 percent undesignated/non state funded; and 5 percent from private fundraising and Federal funding.
The largest portion of the University Capital Plan-56 percent-focuses on maintenance, repair and renovation of existing buildings. Approximately $1.2 billion in new construction is proposed across the University's campuses which will include 74 new projects consisting primarily of academic and research facilities, student housing, and student recreation and campus centers.
Recent capital improvements at UMass campuses have been financed by the University with more than 80 percent of that funding coming from UMass, including campus operating funds and University borrowing; however, Secretary Kirwan and the Patrick Administration have pledged to increase state-funded higher education capital investments from their current level of three percent of the state's total bond-funded capital programs in Fiscal Year 2007 to 10 percent in Fiscal Year 2012.
In fiscal year 2007, the University spent $292 million on capital projects. Over 200 academic and auxiliary buildings comprise the Amherst, Boston, Dartmouth, Lowell and Worcester campuses of the University of Massachusetts.
The University of Massachusetts was established in 1863 as the Massachusetts Agricultural College and it became the University of Massachusetts in 1947. With campuses in Amherst, Boston, Dartmouth, Lowell and a Medical School in Worcester, the University's annual research expenditures exceed $400 million and more than 58,000 undergraduate and graduate students are enrolled in degree programs across all academic disciplines. The University of Massachusetts has more than 220,000 alumni living and working in Massachusetts and more than 80 percent of UMass students remain in Massachusetts after graduating.
Robert P. Connolly, 617-287-7073
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