Newspaper article The Tuscaloosa News

University of Alabama Panel Recommends Moody Building Expansion

Newspaper article The Tuscaloosa News

University of Alabama Panel Recommends Moody Building Expansion

Article excerpt

Committees of the University of Alabama board of trustees approved a request for $615 million in funding from the state in the 2016 fiscal year and a series of resolutions related to construction projects at the Capstone, including a renovation and expansion of the Moody Music Building.

The resolutions approved by the committees on Thursday will be considered by the full board today.

On Thursday, the Finance Committee approved a resolution requesting state funding for the system in fiscal year 2016 at a level equivalent to fiscal year 2008, which would be about $615 million.

For public higher education institutions the state, 2008 was the high point in state funding before the economic downturn that saw deep cuts to appropriations.

The trustees approved a similar request last year ahead of the start of state budget discussions for the current fiscal year. The system's fiscal-year 2015 appropriation is $455 million, a slight increase from the previous budget year.

The request is largely symbolic. The system doesn't expect to see the state return funding to 2008 levels, but the request is meant to demonstrate the financial needs of the system to state leaders. Lawmakers will take up the state budgets and other legislation when the legislature convenes for the 2015 regular session on March 3.

UA has coordinated with other state universities requesting 2008 funding levels, said Ray Hayes, executive vice chancellor for Finance and Operations for the system.

"All of us are being consistent in what we are asking," Hayes said.

The system shifted toward tuition as a revenue source to deal with increasing expenses and the reduced state funding. The trustees approved the latest round of tuition increases for its three campuses earlier this year.

The shift from appropriations to tuition is part of trend nationwide, Hayes said.

"More and more shift to tuition," Hayes said of universities.

A related resolution approved by the committee requests roughly $164 million in state funding in fiscal year 2016 for capital improvements, including renovations, new construction, deferred maintenance and equipment.

The board's Physical Properties Committee approved amending the 2012 Campus master plan to add projects including a roughly 24,000- square-foot addition to the Bryant Conference Center, an exterior renovation and 20,000-square-foot addition to Moody, construction of a new parking deck, and a pedestrian bridge connecting the deck and the conference center at the corner of Second Avenue and Paul W. Bryant Drive.

The committee also approved accompanying resolutions to set preliminary budgets and begin planning for the Moody expansion and construction of the deck and bridge.

The $8.52-million expansion of Moody would provide additional storage, practice and administrative space for the Million Dollar Band. …

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