MU curators worry about $30 million project falling through

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COLUMBIA – MU curators are concerned about finances for plant facility growth.

The UM Board of Curators met on Thursday to discuss the $30 million project. The board approved funds for it in October 2016. But now they are worried the system may not be financially stable enough to move forward since there is no fund raising.

Curator Darry Chatman said, "The danger is we use this to advertise and get great faculty here," he said. "And we get here and can’t come through with the project.”

Vice President for Finance Ryan Rapp said he understands the financial issues but thinks the project is worth following through on.

“It’ll really force us to think about priorities. But I also think we have to be willing to make investments,” he said.

Rapp said plant and life sciences are areas the UM System excels in.

The funding is coming from designated reserves. 

“By using those reserves that means we have to make hard decisions in other areas because we can’t afford to do all things.” Rapp said.

Chatman said the board should solidify extra funding for the project just in case.

“Even though we voted on something years ago and then we hit a financial crisis in following years, it’s not like that money is still going to be committed,” he said. “We may have to, at some point in time, reallocate funds for other priorities just to keep the university running.”

Curator Jeff Layman said there needs to be a balance.

“I’m all for investing this money,” Layman said. “I just think it’s critical to put that capital where we want to go strategically.”

Rapp said UM President Mun Choi will discuss possible fund raising opportunities for the project. Construction was scheduled to begin this fall.