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Northern Michigan University’s Board of Trustees approves 2022 budget

The board voted to invest $90.6 million in capital projects, major maintenance and campus improvements.
Published: Oct. 28, 2021 at 6:42 PM EDT
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MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) - Northern Michigan University’s campus will likely be modernizing soon.

This morning, its board of trustees approved $90.6 million in capital projects, major maintenance, and campus improvements. NMU bond proceeds will cover over one-third of the projects’ total cost.

“We should be grateful for the fact that we are in a position where we have the opportunity to invest significant funds in our people, our facilities, and our programs going forward,” Robert Mahaney, a trustee on the Northern Michigan University Board, said.

The Jacobetti Complex will be renovated into a career and engineering tech facility. Funding also prioritizes Harden Hall Library upgrades, renovation of the Northern Center to accommodate cosmetology and hospitality management programs, new science labs, a new health and wellness center, the new Northern Enterprise Center, a new facility for the NMU Behavior Education Assessment Research Center, and McClintock classroom upgrades.

West Hall and Gries Hall will be demolished, and all functions within Gries Hall will be moved elsewhere on campus. Budgeted major maintenance programs include replacing the Berry Events Center’s ice-making system, the Superior Dome’s turf, and creating a new 60-space parking lot south of the Northern Center.

Despite board members’ concerns about declining enrollment and lack of state funding, the board voted yes on the money.

“We are living in uncertain times,” Mahaney said.

“With state appropriations flat, with projected declines in enrollment, which are really going to fall off the cliff.”

Why? Because trustees see this new investment as a huge win for students and faculty.

“This is a great thing for Northern, and I hope that everybody on campus can celebrate this,” Mahaney said.

Mahaney believes the college can attract more students with newer facilities.

“Many of the issues before us today, if we want to solve them, we solve them through enrollment growth,” Mahaney said.

Board members also concur that modernized spaces could help the college lower its emissions.

“One of the things these projects will do, we’ll actually end up having a net reduction in our overall carbon footprint,” Gavin Leach, vice president, Northern Michigan University Finance and Administration, said.

The board also approved a general operating budget of $118.2 million, a 1% increase from last year, a $12.1 million auxiliary services operating budget, a $7.6 million operating budget, and a $10.8 million house and residence life operating budget.

While the board gave no specific contract updates with faculty at NMU after the budget was approved, Mahaney says that the board is in talks, and there could be updates on the situation very soon.

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