UM Board of Curators review renovation, construction priorities

7 months 1 day 10 hours ago Tuesday, March 20 2018 Mar 20, 2018 Tuesday, March 20, 2018 1:14:00 PM CDT March 20, 2018 in News
By: Nnamdi Egwuonwu, KOMU 8 Reporter
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COLUMBIA - The UM Board of Curators' Finance Committee met on Tuesday to review project plans for all UM campuses and their associated timelines.

Campus officials from MU, UMSL, UMKC and Missouri S&T reaffirmed their "priority projects" and expressed their funding needs.

MU projects highlighted include the Translational Precision Medicine Complex.

"That facility is going to allow us to have world-class clinical trials." said MU Chancellor Alexander Cartwright. "We want to be at the forefront of medical treatment for our citizens."

Other MU projects include renovating and expanding the School of Nursing and upgrading and performing maintenance work on the Medical Sciences Building.

The curators, after listening to each presentation, asked further questions and will later review whether the projects will be included in the system's final 5-year capital plan.

Ryan Rapp, the vice president for finance and chief financial officer for UM, said while the plan is a good indication of where the system will allocate its funds, it is subject to change.

"It's a living, breathing plan so as soon as we've approved the first 5-year plan, we're going to start right away planning for the next 5 years," he said.

Projects at the other campuses largely centered on renovations and expansions as well.

The system focused the prioritization of projects on three standards: mission, stewardship and funding.

Rapp said while all three factors carry equal weight "It's important that first we answer the question of does it fit within the mission and strategy and is it sustainable. If the answer to both of those is yes, then we start to have a discussion around funding." 

The mission standard considers the larger "state, regional and community impact" the project will have in furthering the system's goals.

"We should be making decisions on how we're investing in facilities around our vision and our desire as institutions," Cartwright said. "It isn't always driven just by cost."

Stewardship focuses on the infrastructure and functional sustainability of the projects, and funding measures the amount of external funds, whether in the form of state funding, grants or bonds, currently available.

"It's not about looking at any individual project either; Its about looking at the portfolio of projects, and making sure that when you think about those three areas, we're addressing them," Rapp said.

The meeting is just the latest in the now 6-month long process for the board of curators to create, review and approve a funding plan for the next five years.

The final plan is set to be voted on by the board this April.

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