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Higher Ed Board Committee approves UO Dorm Project, discusses budget reduction planning

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Contact Di Saunders, Cell: 971-219-6869; Office: 503-725-5714

PORTLAND, November 6, 2009 – The State Board of Higher Education’s (the “Board”) Finance and Administration Committee met through statewide video conferencing today to review the University of Oregon’s request to issue dorm construction bonds, and the Oregon University System’s budget reduction planning, among other items discussed by the Committee.

UO Residence Hall
UO vice president for student affairs, Robin Holmes, described the East Campus Residence Hall Project for student housing, and the university’s request to get approval to issue $75 million in Article XI-F(1) bonds to construct a 449-bed multi-purpose facility that will contain faculty offices, classroom space and other programming besides being a residence hall. She said that this is part of UO’s plans to develop a long-range housing plan, and their goal to have on-campus housing for up to 25% of its undergraduates. This new housing will add to current options available, and will encourage students to develop independent living skills and bring greater faculty participation into the student residence experience. It will be designated as an honors and language immersion theme hall and will provide specialized academic programming. UO has an overall need for 2,400 additional on-campus housing spaces per a study conducted earlier this year. This residence hall would be on the corner of 15th Avenue and Moss Street.

After discussion, the committee approved the project; and authorized the Chancellor or designee to seek Legislative expenditure limitation for the project; and pending this action, the next step to be a hearing in front of the Joint Ways and Means Committee of the Oregon Legislature in mid-January 2010.

Budget Planning
OUS vice chancellor for finance and administration, Jay Kenton, reported that the Legislative Fiscal Office has asked for information regarding carry-forward balances and budget reduction planning due to the general economic conditions of the state and the uncertainty around the January 26, 2010 special election involving the tax referendum. He noted that the OUS has been asked to provide reduction options totaling 10% in two 5% increments, which totals about $75.1 million in General Funds and $2.3 million in Lottery Funds. Kenton said that this information was provided to the Committee for discussion purposes only, and to seek guidance on the principles and other parameters the Board would like to use in preparing this requested information.

In other action and discussion at the meetings, the Committee:

  • Accepted the quarterly management reports dated September 30, 2009.
  • Approved the report on investments as of September 30, 2009.

The Oregon State Board of Higher Education, the statutory governing board of OUS, is composed of twelve members appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Oregon State Senate. For additional information, go to www.ous.edu

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