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Board of Trustees will discuss increasing room, board rates

April 11, 2012

The MSU Board of Trustees is expected to take up the issue of increasing room and board rates in addition to numerous construction projects at its Friday meeting.

The meeting is scheduled to take place at 9:30 a.m. in Room 401 of the Administration Building.
Should trustees approve the recommendation, campus residence hall double room rates for undergraduate students will increase by $132 per year, and the silver unlimited meal plan will increase by $190, according to board documents.

The cost for a double occupancy room in a residence hall plus a silver meal plan will cost $8,476 during the upcoming academic year if approved. During the 2011-12 academic year, the rate was $8,154.

This new rate is projected to be the second cheapest in the 12-member Big Ten, according to board documents. Northwestern University students are projected to pay the most at about $12,900 for room and board this upcoming year, according to estimates by Residential and Hospitality Services.

Such an increase is necessary moving forward to sustain services, MSU Trustee Faylene Owen said in an email. Board documents indicate that the increase is in line with forecasts that were made in 2008.

“We are covering basic inflation, and a small amount is going to improvements in the dining and residence halls,” Owen said.

Although Alex Whitlow sees the need to cover costs of inflation, he said the near $200 increase for room plus a meal plan isn’t totally justified given the cafeterias’ current state.

“I think the cafeterias are just fine as they are,” the environmental engineering sophomore said.

On-campus renovations
University engineer Bob Nestle said renovations to the Music Building and the Administration Building will be up for a vote on whether to proceed with construction.

The Music Building’s auditorium only has had minor renovations since its construction in 1940, and Todd Gaffke, a doctoral student in the College of Music, said he’s excited to see an update. Nestle said the space is expected to receive a facelift, including improved lighting, wheelchair accessibility and air conditioning. It is slated to be substantially complete in October if the project is approved to proceed.

The budget for the project has increased from an original estimate by more than $1 million to $4.5 million because of delays in delivery and fabrication of an air handler necessary to install early on in the project, Nestle said, adding the piece will be ordered early to keep the project on track.

“There was a very long delivery for that air handler, and that caused us to change course on this,” he said.

The Administration Building has an issue with water leaking into the basement at its north entrance, and the project is expected to be completed with a $1.2 million budget if given approval to proceed, Nestle said.

“There are plans underway to renovate that (basement) space, and it seems kind of foolish to spend money to renovate the space when you have water leaking inside it,” he said, adding the project is expected to be substantially complete in August.

The board also is expected to vote on the Energy Transition Plan to implement the overall goal of 100 percent renewable energy on campus at a point in the future and the construction on an anaerobic digester on south campus for $5.1 million.

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