/UM board approves spending increase

UM board approves spending increase

UM’s Board of trustees approved spending increases, while board chair Todd Strange cautioned that the University was dipping dangerously into its reserves and would need to increase charitable giving in the future.

Scott Dillard, director of University Advancement, assured the board of trustees that giving was up this year, and that year over year giving continues to rise though often donors earmark donations for specific projects. 

Included in these spending increases was a 2% increase in the salary pool for UM faculty and staff. Faculty will receive an increase automatically, while staff will receive a pay increase based on merit. 

The University of Montevallo Board of trustees approved a $400,000 project to examine renovations of Harman Hall and a $3 million project to construct a new residence hall. Both projects remain early in their planning phases. 

“We appreciate we have the option to provide students the traditional housing at a less expensive cost,” said Denson in an email to The Alabamian, “but with the high demand from students preferring the suite/apartment style living puts the University at a disadvantage in both recruitment and retention of students.” 

The new Residence Hall will be able to provide these housing options for students.  

Proposed modifications to Harman Hall will update the labs and classrooms to make them more competitive with other University’s facilities. 

Construction continues for UM with a ribbon cutting planned for the Center for the Arts on April 14, 2020. A groundbreaking ceremony is planned for early this fall on an addition to the Stephens College of Business. 

Money for these projects will come from the University of Montevallo Foundation as well as other donations and endowments. 

The UM Foundation has over $43 million currently in an investment account managed by Merrill Lynch. The foundation’s Paul Doran noted that the account had made a 12% net return since the beginning of the year and that removing funds from the account to, “avoid financial hardship on the University” was an overall good investment. 

Money was also allocated by the UM Foundation to assist the University in various construction and maintenance projects around campus. These projects include internal and external maintenance on residence halls as well as upkeep on the brick streets and sidewalks around campus. 

Strange noted that while the spending may seem excessive, that it positions the University to be ready and prepared for the future. 

The Board approved a new social media management minor and the naming of two rooms in Morgan Hall. These classrooms will be housed in the expansion of Morgan Hall and named The Central State Bank Classroom, and the Tim and Ellen Lupinacci Board Room.

It was also announced that a theater space in the Center for the Arts will be named the DiscoverShelby Performance Hall and Theatre. 

The minor will be housed in the Communication Department and consist of 18 total credit hours in a combination of Mass Communication and Communication Studies Courses.  

It is projected that the program will require the hiring of one new full-time faculty member within the first five years. 

Toni Leo of the Student Services Committee noted there was a record number of students applying for scholarships for the 2019-2020 academic year. This prompted a change in the evaluation of need and merit for scholarships.  

Administrative changes to the rules and regulations governing student organizations was also approved by the board during the meeting.  

The UM Board of Trustees will meet again in the Merrill Board Room, in Reynolds Hall, on Nov. 1, 2019. The meeting is open to all members of the University community. 

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Waid Jones was the editor-in-chief of The Alabamian during the 2019–2020 academic year. In 2018, while managing editor of The Alabamian, he received the Veterans of Influence Rising Star Award from the Birmingham Business Journal. Prior to coming to UM he was in the U.S. Marine Corps for two and a half years. Jones graduated with a degree in political science from UM in 2020. He is currently the news editor for the Jackson County Sentinel in Scottsboro, Alabama.