Approved by the: University Senate - May 3, 2012
Administration - no action required*
Board of Regents - no action required
*The administration acknowledges the recommendation regarding funding for classroom infrastructure and technology. We appreciate the support provided by the Classroom Advisory Subcommittee to the Office of Classroom Management. However, due to continued financial uncertainties, the administration is not able to support so specific a resolution at this time.


Statement on Funding for Classroom Facilities and Technologies

The Classroom Advisory Subcommittee (CAS) supports the Office of Classroom Management and its planning for lifecycle maintenance and renewal. CAS recommends no further cuts to the classroom lifecycle funds to maintain the basic-level of maintenance and renewal of classroom infrastructure.  CAS furthermore recommends restoring funding to the FY08 levels by the 2016-17 biennium, in order to provide a quality standard for classroom facilities, technology and support that is appropriate for a major, nationally ranked university.

COMMENT:

Students and instructors deserve classroom space that contains technology that is working and furnishings that are not broken and are in reasonably good and safe condition.

Classroom facilities and technologies require periodic maintenance and replacement, and identification of and planning for lifecycle costs is a fiscally prudent approach to management of classroom facilities and technology infrastructure.  Deferred maintenance is expensive in the long run.

We note with great concern that classroom upgrade work continues to be funded primarily with one-time funds (e.g., capital projects like STSS). The recurring lifecycle costs for these classrooms have not been funded. We are, however, accruing these costs. Given the importance of general-purpose classrooms, we cannot continue to defer these costs without jeopardizing our teaching and learning mission.

Central classroom operational recurring funding levels had risen to 79% of requirements (FY08) then fell to 37% of lifecycle need with recurring cuts in FY09, 10, and 12. Concurrently, the amount of managed learning space grew with new buildings and the addition of student study space. Because of low funding levels and increased demand for resources, faculty and students will be required to use facilities and technologies that have outlived their planned lifespan.  This will degrade the learning experience.

In addition to classroom responsibilities, OCM has been assigned the management and maintenance of over 29,000 square feet of student study space. These study spaces represent an additional $2.4 million in OCM-managed assets. In January 2011, OCM received one-time funding for the update of multiple study spaces on the St. Paul campus but has not received funding for recurring maintenance and renewal requirements.

The following charts illustrate a problematic trend: OCM's funding is decreasing while assigned space and tech equipped rooms is increasing.

Recurring Funding

% Change 

FY08

4,325,530

 

FY09

4,221,824

-2.4%

FY10

3,063,551

-27.4%

FY11

3,048,664

-0.5%

FY12

2,648,013

-13.1%


Square Footage w/Study Space

% Change 

FY08

340,000

 

FY09

355,800

4.6%

FY10

363,430

2.1%

FY11

374,714

3.1%

FY12

389,328

3.9%


The University of Minnesota invested in its learning spaces, but without recurring maintenance and renewal, at some point the technology, fixtures and furnishings will be inaccessible due to failure. 

Given the budget reductions and future uncertainty, OCM has placed the following projects on hold:

Project

Cost

Notes

20 Tech. Lifecycle Renewals

$350k

Deferred technology updates to 20 Projection Capable Classrooms

Vincent Hall 16, EB

$250k

Remove fixed seating; ADA, Fire/Safety, carpet & finish upgrade

Borlaug 335 & 365, St. Paul

$475k 

Replace 230 seats (no longer made); carpet & finish upgrades

Ruttan Hall  B25/35/45, St. Paul

$700k

Replace 445 seats (no longer made); carpet & finish upgrades

Keller 3111/3115/3125/3230, EB

$925k

Replace 315 seats (no longer made); carpet & finish upgrades

TOTAL

$2.7M

 

At the end of March the Budget Office notified OCM that it would receive a nonrecurring post-budget O&M transfer of $500,000 in FY13 to be used for the highest priority maintenance and renewal needs of classrooms and study spaces.  OCM will also receive a $2 million internal loan in FY13 for the upgrades in Keller, Borlaug and Vincent and for improvement of study space in Willey and Wilson Library.  While this is welcome news in the short term for dealing with current maintenance and lifecycle replacement priorities, this loan will generate an annual payment obligation of $277,000 beginning in FY14, thus further reducing available operating funds in FY14 and beyond.

Endorsed by the Educational Policy Committee, the Finance and Planning Committee, and the Senate Consultative Committee.

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