UPDATE: University’s utility spending $15 million under budget

By Sarah Small

During the morning session of the March Board of Trustees meeting, Chief Financial Officer Walter Knorr presented an update on the utility budget for the University of Illinois.

The University is running approximately $15 million below budget, Knorr said. This is on a $120 million budget that covers the utilities for the entire system.

Both the Chicago and Urbana campuses are running about $7 million under budget, and the Springfield campus makes up the difference.

“One of the other things we’re starting to see is results of conservation efforts around the campuses,” Knorr said.

He also said the success with natural gas purchases has helped the University stabilize its utility budget.

Looking forward to fiscal year 2010, Knorr said he said he expects to see a decrease in the utility budget request.

In the early part of the morning session two guests also spoke about refurbishing the Mumford House instead of moving it to a location on Windsor Road, a proposal brought forth by members of the Urbana administration.

Board chairman Niranjan Shah agreed with the speakers, and spoke of the importance of keeping Mumford House where it is currently located on the South Quad.

“We’ll work with everyone who is interested,” Shah said. “But we as a university need to come up with the money, and money is always the issues.”

Shah asked Chancellor Richard Herman to prepare a plan for restoring the Mumford House, and to have it available for the Board at the September meeting.

Trustees David Dorris, Robert Vickrey, Frances Carroll and Ken Schmidt also voiced approval of this plan.

“I agree with supporters of leaving the Mumford House where it is,” Vickrey said. “What I would like to do at the next meeting is codify this in a resolution, because words change over years and sometimes they drift away.”

Elias Pittos, the new student trustee from the Chicago campus was welcomed to the board earlier in the day.

Trustee James Montgomery formally welcomed Pittos on behalf of the entire Board. He spoke of the important role the student trustees must take, and the balancing act they must maintain between being a student and being a member of the board.

Student trustees have the responsibility of representing the interests of the students, and making decisions with those students in mind, Montgomery said.

Pittos replaces James Winters who resigned from his position on February 17 for personal reasons.