Ten-year plan calls for CMU to spend $400 million on 18 projects -- including new north campus undergraduate housing

The Board of Trustees was presented Wednesday with a draft of a capital plan that would, if approved, have the university spend $400 million over 10 years on 18 different projects.

The 10-year capital plan, part of the campus master plan, was presented at the Finance and Facilities Committee meeting ahead of Thursday's Board of Trustees meeting at the Bovee University Center.

It calls for spending $64 million on new undergraduate housing to replace aging north campus residence halls and $70 million on a College of Business administrative building, among other projects.

The trustees did not vote on the plan, but Associate Vice President of Facilities Management Steve Lawrence said a final report will be presented to University President George Ross in August, and a final plan will be presented to the board in September.

Lawrence said the 18 projects were narrowed down from an initial plan of over 200 before being cut down to 43 projects that would cost a total of $700 million. The campus master plan steering team, comprised of a variety of campus figures in academics, student government, administration and elsewhere, prioritized 18 projects for the university to consider.

"We really tried hard to get as many people as possible and to give them as many ways to participate as possible,"  Lawrence said.

The most expensive of the 18 projects has already been approved: the $95.2-million Biosciences Building, which was approved by the Board of Trustees last April and is set for completion by fall 2017.

The proposed undergraduate housing project would replace the aging north quad residence halls, which were built in the 1950s.

Other major projects presented to the board include a $20-million expansion of the Health Professions Building, a $15-million renovation of Pearce Hall, $9-million renovations of Brooks Hall and the Robinson Residential Restaurant and construction of a $20-million "learning commons" at the Charles V. Park Library.

"This was a project that was strongly supported by the academic folks on the committee," Lawrence said, referring to the library project.

Specifics on each of the individual projects were scarce.

However, a campus map Lawrence displayed to the trustees indicated where future projects might be located, including a $31-million expansion of the UC that was not listed in the steering committee's plan but was included in the original list of 43 projects.

The map showed much of the construction taking place on north campus and south of Broomfield Road.

"We believe there will be more expansion (south of Broomfield) in the future," Lawrence said.

Two projects will be up for a vote at Thursday's board meeting. The trustees will vote on approving Phase I construction of the College of Medicine East Campus in Saginaw totaling $25.2-million and on a $5.4-million East Utility Loop.

The utility loop, if approved, would create new 16-inch steam lines and 8-inch condensate lines about 4-6 feet underground that would better meet capacity on the east side of campus.

Other projects on the initial list of 43 that were not included in the steering committee's prioritized list include renovations of the Dow Science Complex, the Engineering and Technology Building, Foust Hall, Powers Hall and the Student Activity Center, among other buildings.

After Lawrence admitted there is no "signature project" in the capital plan that would add spaces for students to congregate, Trustee Robert Wardrop said he was concerned there was too little student involvement in drafting the plan.

"Apparently, (students) were not looked out for in this plan," he said.

Ross said any plan "must align with academic prioritization."

"It's certainly not going to be easy," he said.

Lawrence also presented a map of potential road projects to the board, including a utility road that would connect East Campus Drive with Mission Road that is designed to ease traffic congestion. The trustees will vote on that project tomorrow.

Check cm-life.com Thursday for news from the Board of Trustees meeting.